Blue-Emu Topical Pain Reliever

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You may have seen Blue-Emu 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 exactly is Blue-Emu? What are the common uses of this product? Is it safe and effective for osteoarthritis pain?

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

Ingredients

Original Blue-Emu 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, emu oil also 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.

Formulations

There are various Blue-Emu products available:

  • 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

Historically, the indigenous people of Australia used emu fat as a skin moisturizer, antiseptic, and to relieve muscle and joint pain. The Blue-Emu website lists the following uses for their products—Muscle pain, strains, sprains, bruises, back pain, achy joints, arthritis pain, dry, cracked Heels, and itchy feet.

Other common uses of emu oil include acne inflammation, eczema, calluses, cold sores, dermatitis, fine lines and age spots, insect bites, rashes, razor burns, scars, sprains, sunburn, etc.

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

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

Studies

Several studies have tried to evaluate 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.

A Word From Verywell

Blue-emu is something to try if you are interested in topical pain relief. However, there isn't much information or evidence to supports its effectiveness.

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  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

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