BENEFITS OF ARGAN
Argan is a rich source of vitamin A, E, antioxidants, Omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid. Argan oil contains 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants that neutralise free radical agents, protect conjunctive tissue, and restore the skin's water-lipid layer.
FROM THE SOURCE
Grows in: Essaouira and Agadir in Morocco
Sourced & Processed: Morocco
Packaged and Labelled in: Norway and Sweden
TRADITIONAL USE OF ARGAN
Argan oil has been a component of Berber folk medicine for centuries, used in the treatment of skin conditions, rheumatism, and heart disease. It has traditionally been used both topically and orally to improve the health of skin, hair, and nails.
It is an important source of edible (cooking) oil, which is an excellent source of vitamin E. This oil has a high nutritional value in the human diet. The locals mix the oil with almonds and honey to make almond butter. It is also mixed with wheat germ and honey to make gruel. The residue from the kernels after oil extraction is a thick chocolate-colored paste called 'amlou' which is sweetened and served as a dip for bread at breakfast time in Berber households. Its flavour is similar to that of peanut butter.
WHAT IS AN ARGAN TREE?
Argan tree belongs to the argania spinosa family and grows exclusively in the south-west of the country between Essaouira and Agadir, in an area covering 700,000-800,000 hectares. Indeed, within the area where Argan grows, there are about 21 million trees. Notably, this area was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its ecological and local economic importance in 1998.
The Argan tree is known to the Berbers for the many health benefits it brings. In addition, the Argan tree plays a vital role in the food chain and the environment.
It thrives well in a harsh environment, as it survives heat, drought, and poor soil. It is estimated that the tree can live up to 250 years but would only be fully productive when it reaches 40-60 years old. The Argan tree can reach a height of between 8 and 10 meters. On the other hand, the Argan fruit that it produces is 2 to 4 cm long and 1.5 to 3 cm in diameter. Each fruit has a thick, fleshy, bright green peel surrounding the hard nut-like an olive, but larger and rounder.
The Argan trees around Essaouira are frequently adorned with goats, which climb into the tops of the trees and nimbly nibble the fruit from between the armored branches. Historically, the goats formed part of the production process of what the local Berber people consider to be arboricultural gold; Argan oil.
Notably, extracting the oil from the drupes is a long and labor-intensive task that has traditionally been undertaken by Berber women. For centuries, women in Southern Morocco gathered together in cooperatives, and passed down the traditional methods of extracting how they gather and dry the fruit, crush the nuts, roast and grind the kernels, and finally knead the paste to extract the oil. It can take about 30 Kg of Argan Nuts and 10 to 12 hours of work to produce just one litre of oil.
PUBLISHED ARGAN RESEARCH
Qiraouani Boucetta K, Charrouf Z, Aguenaou H, Derouiche A, Bensouda Y. The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity. Clin Interv Aging. 2015;10:339-349 https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S71684
Faria, L. Camargo, R. Carvalho, L. Paludetti, M. Velasco and R. Gama, "Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment with Hair Dye," Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, Vol. 3 No. 3A, 2013, pp. 40-44. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2013.33A1006.
Lizard G, Filali-Zegzouti Y, Midaoui AE. Benefits of Argan Oil on Human Health-May 4-6 2017, Errachidia, Morocco. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(7):1383. Published 2017 Jun 28. doi:10.3390/ijms18071383