Australian Dream and Arthritis Pain: Review of Research

I must be getting old because one of my favorite stations on XM radio is the channel that plays the old time radio shows. I like it because I get to hear programs that my parents and grandparents listened to when they were around. One night, driving home and listening to this station, a commercial for an arthritis cream called Australian Dream. The spokesperson for the commercial was Chuck Woolery, who many may remember from TV game shows like Love Connection. I’ve never heard of Australian Dream, so I decided to review it. As I drove home, eager to learn more about this product, I thought for sure I knew exactly what its active ingredient was. I couldn’t have been more wrong―which made me want to review it even more.

 

Australian Dream Research

From what I can tell, Australian Dream has no published peer reviewed evidence to show it reduces arthritis pain or any other kinds of pain, better than a placebo or better than other similar products on the market. That’s too bad considering the product has been around for over a decade. Because of that, let’s now look at the ingredients in the product and see what we can figure out.

Australian Dream Ingredients

According to the product website, the active ingredient in Australian Dream is histamine dihydrochloride (at a concentration of 0.25%)—which, they tell us, is an external analgesic.

Other ingredients in Australian Dream include:

  • Water
  • Butylene Glycol
  • C13-14 Isoparaffin
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Emu Oil
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate
  • Glucosamine Sulfate
  • Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil
  • Laureth-7, Methylisothiazolinone
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • Polyacrylamide, Potassium Sorbate
  • Sodium Polyacrylate
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin-E)
  • Trideceth-6

Since none of these ingredients are listed as active ingredients, I will assume that they are inactive and play no role at all in the effectiveness of Australian Dream. That said, if you look closely you’ll see that this list includes 3 ingredients that people with arthritis pain are probably familiar with:

  • Glucosamine sulfate
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

 

These 3 ingredients show up in A LOT of joint pain supplements, many of which I’ve already reviewed. That said, I want to point out that the evidence purporting they may help arthritis pain is based on taking them by mouth―not rubbing them on the skin. For example, I’m not aware of any proof that rubbing glucosamine on the skin helps arthritis pain.

So, I have to ask the question: Why are glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM in this product? The only reason I can think of is for marketing purposes. In other words, people expect to see them in a joint pain supplement, and they might not buy unless they see them. As proof of this,  I even noticed websites specifically touting the glucosamine in Australian Dream. Whether they are present or not, I don’t feel they contribute anything to how well Australian Dream works.

For more on these ingredients, see these reviews:

Since histamine dihydrochloride is listed as the only active ingredient, let’s now talk about it more and see what it does.

 

Histamine Dihydrochloride

Histamine dihydrochloride (pronounced hiss-ta-mean dye-hide-row-klor-ride) is a form of histamine—a compound that does many things in the body. For example, histamine is released by immune system cells during allergy season and is the reason for runny noses and watery eyes. Some people may take antihistamines, which block the action of histamine.

Tip. In other products, histamine dihydrochloride may be called histaminum hydrochloricum.

 

On the product website, they say histamine dihydrochloride is an “external analgesic.” An analgesic is something that relieves pain.

As an aside, in some countries (not in the US), histamine dihydrochloride may also used to treat some forms of leukemia; although in this instance, it is injected rather than being rubbed on the skin. Rubbing it on the skin does not do the same thing as injecting it.

 

This stuff is also a vasodilator, which means it expands blood vessels. I think this is at the heart of its pain-reducing effects. As blood vessels open up more, there is greater flow of blood to the area to which it is applied. The improved blood flow to the area might give the sensation of warmth, which temporarily masks pain sensations.

I think this is how histamine dihydrochloride works, because I’m not able to find any evidence that it directly reduces pain. I think the pain reduction is a byproduct of improved blood flow.  

If anyone can find evidence that histamine dihydrochloride directly blocks pain receptors, let me know and I’ll update this part of the review.

 

Who Makes Australian Dream?

Nature’s Health Connection is the company that makes Australian Dream. This company is located at 230 Plummer Street, Campton, KY 41301, according to the Better Business Bureau file. I called Nature’s Health Connection and was told this is the address of the company headquarters but is not where Australian Dream is made. There was no rating on the BBB website when I checked.

 

The BBB lists a website for the company as: “NHC123.com”; although when I checked, this address did not appear to be working. This may be the original company website that is no longer being used. The website for Australian Dream and Nature’s Health Connection is: AustralianDream.com.

 

During my review, I discovered another address for Nature’s Health Connection: 121 Pelfrey Drive, Campton, KY—which is about 3 miles from the Plummer Street address. When I spoke to the representative at Nature’s Health Connection, I was told this address is no longer valid.  I wanted to mention this because some websites still list the Pelfrey drive address.

 

How to Contact Australian Dream

According to the AustralianDream.com website, the customer service number is 888-600-4642. The contact page of the product website also has an email option; however, I recommend calling them if you have a question. The BBB also lists another contact number of  606-668-6533.

How to Return the Product?

To their credit, the makers of Australian Dream have an “Empty Jar Guarantee.” For those who are not satisfied, they can return the empty jar along with their sales receipt and get a full refund. To return Australian Dream send the jar to:Australian Dream Refunds PO Box 609 Campton, KY 41301.

Where Is Australian Dream Made?

Australian Dream is made in the United States. When I called Nature’s Health Connection, they told me that the product is made in Florida. They would not tell me the name of the company that makes it.

 

Where Did the Name Come From?

I was curious about where the name “Australian Dream” came from, so I asked Nature’s Health Connection, the makers of the product, who told me that the name was chosen because the product contains emu oil, which comes from Australia. I located one online source which notes that emu oil used to be the primary ingredient in the product until the year 2000, when another ingredient―presumably histamine dihydrochloride―was added to the product.

As an aside Blue Emu Oil is another product marketed to help pain

As it happens, my friend and fellow blogger, Bill Sukala, lives in Australia, so I asked him if he’s heard of Australian Dream. He said he hadn’t. Nature’s Health Connection also informed me that the product is not currently sold in Australia.

Australian Dream and Migraines?

This is not related to Australian Dream specifically, but as I was researching this product I uncovered an interesting clinical trial related to whether histamine dihydrocholoride could help migraine headaches when its placed under the skin.  As I wrote this review, the clinical trial had not yet begun,  but I wanted to address it for those who may be searching for whether Australian Dream (because of its histamine dihydrocholoride content) might help migraine headaches.

While I am unable to find any evidence it helps, I did locate a study from 1985 where intravenous histamine dihydrocholoride caused headaches.  That’ doesn’t necessarily mean rubbing Australian Dream on the skin does the same thing. I have no proof it does or doesn’t.

 

Australian Dream Side Effects

From what I can tell, I think Australian Dream is safe for most people who use it appropriately.  Searching online for side effects does not turn up much in terms of people saying bad things about it either. That said, there are some who say they have had side effects. For example, if you read the comments below, one person said Australian, while it worked, also made his skin itch. I think most of these complaints may be linked to histamine dihydrochloride, which is the product’s active ingredient. With that in mind, here is a list of potential / theoretical side effects based on the active ingredient in the product. How likely any of these are to occur, I do not know.

Because histamine dihydrochloride vasodialtes (expands/enlarges) blood vessels, it’s possible that it may decrease blood pressure. This effect might be most noticed by those with low blood pressure or those who take medications for high blood pressure. When I searched online for side effects, I did see some people talking about how Australian Dream lowered their blood pressure, causing them to feel dizzy.

Histamine may be related to headaches but that doesn’t necessarily mean rubbing a histamine dihydrochloride cream on the skin causes headaches. Still, headache-prone individuals should consult their doctor or pharmacist for more up to date  and in-depth information.

Some people online reported having an allergic reaction shortly after using Australian Dream that resulted in itching, difficulty swallowing, and blisters. My guess is that this may be due to a histamine sensitivity/intolerance where some people may lack the ability to breakdown histamine.

For those who may be sensitive to histamine dihydrochloride, it may be best to do a test, using a very small amount on a small area of the skin to see if any side effects occur.

People who have skin conditions should ask their doctor or pharmacist before using the product.

The glucosamine sulfate in the product – because it comes from shell fish – may cause an allergic reaction in those who have a shell fish allergy.

Wash hands thoroughly before touching the eyes, as it may cause eye irritation.

Do not use Australian Dream on areas of the skin that have cuts, scrapes, or open wounds. This may give histamine dihydrochloride access to your bloodstream, where it may have different effects than when placed topically on the skin.

Don’t use Australian Dream if you are pregnant or nursing without consulting your doctor first (inform the doctor what the active ingredient is too).

Ads for Australian Dream say it is odorless, but some people online have noted that it has an odor.  Again, some people may be more sensitive than others on this issue. People with lung problems (asthma, COPD, etc.) should refrain from smelling the compound if they use it, and also use it in a well-ventilated area, just to be safe.

All that said, I think most people will probably not notice any unusual side effects from the product, but when in doubt, ask your pharmacist or doctor just to be sure. For more info, see this summary of the product.

 

Does It Work?

Looking at what research I could find―which was not much, by the way―I think it’s possible some people may notice temporary relief of aches, pains, and joint stiffness. That said, my question is: Does Australian Dream work better than other pain relief creams like Ben Gay or Aspercream? I’m not sure, so if you’ve tried and it helped―or didn’t―do leave a comment and let me (and others) know what you think. I hope this review helped clear up questions you may have had about this product. If you have additional questions that I missed, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help you.

Here is Australian Dream on Amazon on Amazon for those who want to see what others have said about it.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. joy says

    Well, Joe, I’d like to hear if it works, I’ve seen it in the drug stores, but have not purchased it. I use a lot of topicals and even make up my own concoction. Topricin and Arnica Plus, with all I’ve used, are my favorites and give me the MOST “temporary” relief….nothing is permanent. If there is a permanent relief topical, I’d love to hear about it. I’m doing Prolotherapy for my aching arthritic knee next month. It can “WORK”. It’s regenerative work.

    • Joe says

      Joy, I’ve heard some interesting things about prolotherapy so I do hope it helps you. I dont think any cream (like Australian Dream) offers permanent relief (it would be great if it did, right!) but looking at the various comments online I think some people may notice some temporary relief. that of course, would depend on how severe the pain was and what type of pain the person had. I do think the pain relief is related to improved blood flow rather than any direct pain relieving effect of Australian Dream (or histamine dihydrochloride ).

  2. says

    Joe,
    There seems to be way too many red flags flying regarding this product. Personally, I’ve never heard of it. But the fact that it’s not sold in Australia & your Australian supplement connection has never heard of it, is a cause of concern to say the least.

    Why isn’t it called the “Kentucky Dream” or the “Florida Dream” – named after the towns that this stuff may have actually came from? It just sounds like another supplement you can add to your “snake oil” file. Great review Joe – thanks for making me aware of it

    • Joe says

      Paul, I can give them a pass on name since emu oil used to be its main ingredient but that is pretty funny what you said :)

  3. Judi says

    My husband uses Australian Dream every night on his shoulders and neck. He says it works and gets rid of his pain. He has been using it for about 6 months. I have severe back pain due to scoliosis, and he kept telling me to try the Australian Dream. I finally tried it and it didn’t do a thing for my pain. I used it for about 3 days and got no benefit from it.

    To be fair, I’ve also tried Tramadol, Flexeril, Aleve, and Advil for my back pain, None of those have helped either. I’m thinking about asking my doc for Celebrex. I’d rather try medical marijuana but it is illegal in my state. I hate taking pharmaceuticals which warn me it might kill me.

      • Judi says

        Hi Joe, I’ve tried PT in the past and it really helped a lot. I did pool therapy and it was wonderful. But with the new health care situation, my insurance policy was canceled and my new policy has a whopping $2,000. deductible. So I have to pay the first $2,000. of PT. In other words, I have to pay for all of it out of my pocket, which I can’t afford.

        btw, I discovered you blog just last night, and I want to thank you for all of the research you have done. One of the best blogs I’ve ever read, thank you!

        • Joe says

          Judi, I’ve heard stories from the others about the new health care situation also. So sad. My birthday is tomorrow (the big 50, ugh!) so I wonder what that will mean for me in time also.. I can only hope that as more companies get into the mix that it improves competition and drives down prices… Let’s cross our fingers.

          Check into YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers. They often have pool classes and sometimes pool therapy too. YMCAs also have “scholarships” where the cost can be a lot less – or even free in some cases. Also try asking your doctor if he/she knows a way for you to get back to PT for less out of pocket expenses. I wonder if universities that have a physical therapy department might be able to help? Im not sure. this just occurred to me.

          Thanks for your very kind words too! I’m really glad you are finding my website helpful. I have a lot to say about things don’t I :)

          • Judi says

            A big happy Five Oh! Joe! :)

            50 is not too bad. Hubby and I are in our 60’s. If our health was better, we’d cancel our health insurance policies in a heart beat. Our combined MONTHLY premiums are $1,200., exactly twice as much as they were with our old policies that got canceled. It’s killing us.

            Our combined deductibles were $1,000., now it is $4,000. This is the BCBS Silver Plan. I have to set aside $300 a week just to pay the premiums. I’m sure that millions of other folks are in the same boat that we are in.

            How does this hurt the economy? People can’t afford to eat out as much, have to cancel vacation plans, put off buying that new car, wear last years clothes, etc. All of this puts a huge strain on small businesses.

          • Joe says

            Judi, wow. I’m so sorry to hear about that! I wish I had an answer for your health insurance problems. Do try to shop around and see if you can get a better deal. I do hear there will be more competition by the end of 2014 so Im hoping that drives down prices. I hope that happens.

    • Lyla Cavanaugh says

      To the lady that said nothing helps. CELEBREX is really bad for your heart. 80 mg oxycontin gets rid of mostly all the pain so that U can exercise and build yourself up. Guess doctors won’t write those prescriptions anymore. I was taking one a day and doing well. But now I take aspirin/tramadol/10mg codeine and just struggle with the pain. I also use DMSO on the sore places and wear an exercise stomach belt that warms up my back and really does help with the pain when I am walking. Sleeping in the belt drives away a lot of the lower back pain as well.

      This Histamine Dihydrochloride sounds as if it could be dangerous especially for someone who has allergies. But is actually sounded like it might be good for baldness since it drives blood/nutrients to the area. BTW, tried medical marijuana CBD not the kind that gets you stoned. Be careful it stings and put my bladder out and raised my blood pressure through the roof. I had to take three different kinds of antibiotics to help my bladder. I heard that the marijuana sometimes added THC from other sources like potatoes. It sure does not feel pure like long ago and irritates the crap out of your other organs and heart.

      Do not take more than one bite of the cookies, you will feel like you are dying as Maureen Dowd did. I had to take two valiums just to make it through that! It did not do much for my back pain by the way at all. It seemed to help a little with my stomach but not enough to counteract the bad things it did to my bladder and other organs!

  4. Fredrick Downs says

    Chuck Woolery is known to sell his name cheap. Australian Dream is made in Florida and has never been sold in Australia. This product does not contain pain killing ingredients normally found for pain. This product is not approved by the FDA. Another marketing scam and it’s expensive.

  5. John Lohr says

    I purchased the product yesterday after hearing a commercial for a similar blue emu product. I checked with the pharmacist at Walgreen’s to see what comments they had. She told me she used the Australian Dream product and liked it but that it was expensive – it is, I did get relief for joint pain in my knees.

    I am going to try it again tonight. I probably should have done research beforehand but felt like it was worth a try. It was in the same section with Ben-Gay and the other creams which I have not had great results with.

    As far as being called Australian Dream doesn’t mean anything to me. Could have been called Hillbilly lotion and I would have gone off the pharmacist recommendation. Just like all medications I guess some work for some people and not for others.

  6. Patty says

    I have arthritis in both knees, my left is bone on bone. I play the sport of curling, which is hard on my knees (especially the left knee, since I’m right-handed). I know a lot of curlers who take advil before every game, and I’m able to get by by rubbing in this Australian Dream (Bio Freeze works for me too). I rub in in to both knees, and although I’m a little sore when I start playing, it eases up and I play pretty much pain free.

    If the relief comes from blood vessel dilation, that’s great. So much better using a topical product than something with systemic effects. Who cares what the call it – marketing is marketing. It works for me!

    Patty

  7. George says

    The concentration is actually .025%. It looks to be the same as Dr. Fred’s Pain Relieve Rub (https://drfredsmeds.wordpress.com) with different inactive ingredients. Fred has a cardboard cutout of himself hawking the product in his pharmacy. When some friends of mine asked about it, the counter person said “let’s ask Fred” and he came out and sold them on it at $20 for a 4oz jar. Looks like it’s not quite the unique miracle product he described.

  8. Gail Penrod says

    Joe

    I’ve been using Australian Cream for 4 days now. I find I only get relief from pain in my hands (it’s worse in my thumb areas) if I put several applications on. Yes, the container says you may have use multiple applications but even after 3 applications within 20 min. I only get partial relief. I guess that’s better than none, but for the cost of the product it may end up being an expensive treatment plan if I have to use 3X as much.

    • Joe says

      Gail, as I’ve been told osteoarthritis sometimes starts in the thumb area. I’ve also been told that eventually it gets better so that may be some consolation. Have you seen a doctor about this? I do know someone who saw a hand doctor and got a shot in the thumb area that took the pain away for several months. that person has used a splint around the thumb area at bed time that also seems to help.

  9. steve c. says

    I bought a jar of it based on a recommendation from one of my employees. It has worked well on neck and shoulder pain. I apply it before going to bed. However, it makes my skin itch very badly. Almost not worth the pain relief it provides. Found your blog searching for what is causing the itching. Histamines may have provided the answer.

    • Joe says

      Steve, thanks for that feedback. I added what you said to the side effects section of my review in case anyone else had the same issue.

  10. says

    A starting point for the effect of histamine on the body, for some people at least, is the Low Histamine Chef. Start there and get educated. In general histamine is a natural part of the body, with MANY effects, often contradictory, or rather let’s say “situational”. For example while it is normally a vasodilator, it can have the opposite effect.

Leave a Reply and join the conversation.