If novel research from Australia shows promise, bowl cancer may eventually be treated orally with emu oil.

A grant of $25,000 is being used to fund the research, which is being led by University of Western Australia pharmacologist Suzanne Mashtoub - the only researcher in the world looking into emu oil as a treatment for internal bowl disease, the university said.

"My primary aim with this research is to investigate whether emu oil can reduce inflammation and repair damage in the bowel caused by ulcerative colitis, and subsequently monitor if we can then prevent the development of bowel cancer," Mashtoub said in a statement.

Emu oil has a long history of being used by indigenous people as a way to provide relief from pain, and some recent research has suggested that emu oil could be used as a topical anti-inflammatory medicine.

According to WebMD, emu oil, which is extracted from fats in the flightless bird, is also taken as a mean of improving cholesterol levels and sometimes as a cough syrup.

Fatty acids in emu oil are said to reduce pain and swelling, WebMD reported.

As part of Mashtoub research into whether emu oil is an effective means of treating internal bowl disease, she will also attempt to improve methods for how the oil is refined.

"I'm also looking at experimenting with different batches of emu oil and making sure that the efficacy of emu oil is consistent regardless of where it comes from," she said.

Mashtoub said that she hopes the research will be completed by early next year and that a phase of clinical trials will begin shortly afterward.

"This Cancer Council grant will help me to further explore the therapeutic effectiveness of emu oil which I'm hoping will have a positive impact on patients suffering from these incurable conditions," she said. "I know many friends and family who have been affected by cancer so I've seen first-hand the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy."