Emu oil is oil derived from adipose tissue harvested from certain subspecies of the emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, a flightless bird indigenous to Australia.
Unadulterated emu oil can vary widely in color and viscosity anywhere from an off-white creamy texture to a thin yellow liquid, depending on the diet of the emu and the refining method(s) used. It is composed of approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The largest component is oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Emu oil also contains roughly 20% linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and 1-2% linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).
Emu oil has been fraudulently promoted as a dietary supplement with the false claim it can treat a variety of human ailments, including cancer and arthritis. Little is known about its risks and benefits.
Commercial emu oil supplements are not standardized and vary widely in their potency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighted emu oil in a 2009 article on "How to Spot Health Fraud," pointing out that many "pure emu oil" products are unapproved drugs.
As of 2015 there have been two small human studies. One looked at emu oil as a skin moisturizer and the other as an insect repellent.