Published on 15/04/2013
Emu oil could be used as a possible treatment for a number of bowel conditions, according to a new study, including damage caused by chemotherapy.
Emu oil could be used to treat bowel conditions
Taken from the fat of emus, emu oil has traditionally been used by the Australian indigenous population as a treatment for skin wounds.
Now, researchers at the University of Adelaide have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of the substance can help to repair damage to the bowel.
A series of studies in the lab show that emu oil treatment accelerates the repair process following injury, by stimulating growth of particular parts of the intestine.
Not only could this help people with a variety of common bowel diseases, but it could also help chemotherapy patients with painful intestinal ulcers.
PhD candidate Suzanne Mashtoub Abimosleh said: "The symptoms of mucositis - which include painful ulcers throughout the gastrointestinal tract - are experienced by 40-60% of all cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy worldwide and currently there are no effective treatment options."
Lead author Professor Gordon Howarth said: "We've now done sufficient studies in the laboratory to show that emu oil has potential to help reduce the debilitating symptoms of these conditions and to enhance intestinal recovery."
"We are now looking at further work to look at emu oil dosages, and whether the beneficial effects can be reproduced in clinical trials."
Researchers say the next steps include clinical trials, probably first with patients experiencing irritable bowel syndrome.
The emu is the largest bird native to Australia, and Emu farming occurs all over the country. Emu farming is a highly regulated industry and all farmers are licencensed by the Government.
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