Blue-Emu Topical Pain Reliever: Uses, Benefits, Risks

You may have seen Blue-Emu cream sitting among various topical pain relievers on your drugstore shelf. It likely caught your attention because the name of the product sounds a little different, even a little exotic.

What is Blue-Emu? What are the common uses of this product? Is it safe and effective? This article will answer those questions and more. You'll learn how to use Blu-Emu cream as well as what the research says about its safety and effectiveness for pain relief.

The source of emu oil.
Simon Hardenne / Biosphoto / Getty Images

Blue-Emu Ingredients

Original Blue-Emu cream contains the active ingredients of glucosamine and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), together with aloe vera and emu oil. The emu oil is a natural transdermal carrier, meaning that it penetrates the skin and transports the active ingredients.

According to the manufacturer, the emu oil in Blu-Emu has natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and moisturizing properties of its own. Glucosamine and MSM are commonly found in oral dietary supplements for joint health, as well as some topical pain relievers.

Emu oil is a refined product that comes from the fat of the emu bird when it is processed for its lean meat. Emu oil is rich in essential fatty acids—omega 3, 6, and 9. Oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid), the primary fatty acid found in emu oil, enhances its ability to penetrate the skin.

Beyond the enhanced ability to penetrate, oleic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. Another fatty acid in emu oil, linoleic acid, eases muscle pain and joint pain.

Certain fatty acids (the building blocks of fats) are called "essential" because we can't live without them but can't make them on our own. There are hundreds of fatty acids found in nature, but only about 20 are found in foods consumed by humans.

Blue-Emu Formulations

There are different versions of Blu-Emu cream. Which one you pick will depend on what condition you're hoping to treat.

Blue-Emu products that are available include:

  • Blue-Emu Original Super Strength 2 ounces
  • Blue-Emu Original Super Strength 4 ounces
  • Blue-Emu Original Super Strength 12 ounces
  • Blue-Emu Maximum Arthritis Pain Relief Cream, With Trolamine Salicylate 10 percent
  • Blue-Emu Continuous Pain Relief Spray 4 ounces, With Trolamine Salicylate 10 percent
  • Blue-Emu Lidocaine Numbing Pain Relief Cream with New Easy Open Child Resistant Cap, with Lidocaine HCl 4%
  • BLUE-EMU® Recovery Bath Pods
  • BLUE-EMU® Lidocaine Dry Patch, with Lidocaine HCl 4%
  • Blue-Emu Foot Therapy 5.5 ounces

Common Uses of Blue-Emu

Historically, the indigenous people of Australia used emu fat as a skin moisturizer, antiseptic, and to relieve muscle and joint pain.

According to the product's website, Blu-Emu cream can be used for:

Emu oil in general has also been used for:

Blue-Emu Maximum Arthritis Pain Relief Cream is the product recommended to help manage arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and swelling.

After application, Blu-Emu cream penetrates the skin, where the oleic and linoleic acid are supposed to go to reduce inflammation. According to the manufacturer, the trolamine salicylate in Blu-Emu also helps to control pain.

Studies on Blue-Emu

Several studies have looked at the effects of emu oil on inflammation. A recent study found that emu oil decreased inflammation by reducing the secretion of some pro-inflammatory factors.

Another study, published in 2016, studied the effects of emu oil on burn wounds in rats and found that although the application of emu oil was associated with slow healing, it resulted in an increased number of hair follicles around the wound edges.

Nevertheless, according to the Natural Standard, there is insufficient evidence to declare emu oil effective for arthritis pain relief. In a study published in 2016, emu oil was paired with curcumin and used on rats. The combination showed promising results against inflammation.

Blu-Emu Side Effects and Risks

The main ingredient in Blu-Emu is emu oil. The side effects of Blu-Emu have not been studied much. It's also not clear what the risks of using Blu-Emu are.

That said, some studies looking at using emu oil topically have shown it's generally safe for most people.

Possible side effects of using Blu-Emu cream include:

  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation on the skin

Side Effects of Lidocaine

If you're using Blu-Emu with lidocaine, you might have side effects from that ingredient. Possible side effects of lidocaine include:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Vision changes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Itchiness or hives
  • Swelling
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Tremors

Blue-Emu should not be used on certain types of injuries, including:

  • Big areas of injured skin
  • Puncture wounds

You also should not use Blu-Emu with other pain relievers, whether you're taking them by mouth or using them on your skin. While you can use an ice pack with Blu-Emu, it should not be used with a heating pad.

Blu-Emu and Allergies

Any time you put a product on your skin, it's possible that you might be sensitive to it. In some cases, you might be reacting to the main ingredient in the product. It's also possible that you are sensitive to another component of it—for example, a fragrance or preservative.

If you have allergies, you might need to avoid Blu-Emu products. For example, people who are allergic to sulfonamides or to sulfites should ask their provider before using Blu-Emu.

Who Should Not Use Blu-Emu?

Since there hasn't been much research on the safety of emu oil—especially not in specific groups of people—risks of using Blue-Emu cannot be ruled out.

To be on the safe side, certain people should avoid using Blue-Emu, including:

  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Children under the age of 12 years old

According to Blu-Emu's website, the Original version of the product is safe to use on children ages 2 and older. However, the products that contain lidocaine and other pain relief ingredients should not be used on children under age 12.

If you've been using Blu-Emu for a week and your condition is not getting better or it's getting worse, stop using it and call your provider.

Summary

Blue-emu is a topical pain reliever. It's available over-the-counter and is generally safe to try, but there is not much evidence showing it's an effective way to treat pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Blue-Emu used for?

    Blu-Emu can be used for pain relief. It may help with muscle pain, joint pain, sprains, and more.

  • What are the side effects of Blue-Emu?

    Using products on your skin can cause rashes and irritation, especially if you're sensitive to certain ingredients. If you're using a product with lidocaine, you might have side effects like dizziness and a fast heartbeat.

  • Is Blue-Emu made from emus?

    Emu oil is made using body fat from emus.

  • Is Blue-Emu good for nerve pain?

    According to the Blu-Emu website, the products that contain lidocaine as an ingredient may help with nerve pain.

  • How long does it take Blue-Emu to start working?

    You might not have a clear indication that the product is working. On Blu-Emu's website, the company explains that "you won't 'feel' any heating or cooling sensation" when you put Blu-Emu on. However, "you should notice some relief as it begins to penetrate the skin to the source of discomfort."

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7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Vahedian V, Asadi A, Esmaeili P, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of emu oil-based nanofibrous scaffold through downregulation of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α pro-inflammatory cytokines. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2020;41(2). doi:10.1515/hmbci-2019-0052

  2. Afshar M, Ghaderi R, Zardast M, et al. Effects of topical emu oil on burn wounds in the skin of balb/C miceDermatol Res Pract. 2016;2016:6419216. doi:10.1155/2016/6419216

  3. Jeengar MK, Shrivastava S, Mouli Veeravalli SC, et al. Amelioration of FCA induced arthritis on topical application of curcumin in combination with emu oil. Nutrition. 2016;32(9):955-964. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2016.02.009

  4. Rollmann DC, Novotny PJ, Petersen IA, et al. Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Processed Ultra Emu Oil Versus Placebo in the Prevention of Radiation DermatitisInt J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015;92(3):650-658. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.02.028

  5. National Library of Medicine. BLUE-EMU LIDOCAINE PAIN RELIEF CREAM- lidocaine cream 4% cream label.

  6. Blu-Emu. Frequently Asked Questions.

  7. National Library of Medicine. MAXIMUM STRENGTH BLUE EMU PAIN RELIEF BLU EMU- trolamine salicylate spray label.

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