- Fashion and Beauty
Argan oil for healthy skin.
Raw argan oils
Morocco is famous for lot of things. Less known of them are rose oil and Argan oil. Argan oil is food, medicine and a beauty product.
Moroccans call Argania spinosa "Tree of life" and prize it as a national symbol. The tree not just feeds them with the fruit but also serves for building, warming and even soap production.
It has hard to reach fruits due to its thorny branches. Only the hungry goats grazing on its leaves are able to climb the tree. While they graze on the leaf mass, they shake the trunk and the fruits fall on the ground. Local berber women collect and bring the fruits home to be crushed with stones. Local refinery factories are buying the fruits too.
Cold pressed fruits produce oil like the olive's but thicker and darker. To make 1 liter of Argan oil, you need 18-20 hours of manual labor. This explains the price.
Some argan facts.
The thorny Argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) grows in Northwestern plains of Morocco near the valley of river Draa and Atlas mountain range. The tree forest is more than 2 million trees and 5 thousand square miles wide. It is protected by UNESCO and is part of the world heritage program.
Trees have very potent roots accommodated to desert life living sometimes 200 years. They stop erosion and form small biosphere around themselves. Roots can dig up to 30 meters deep and leaf crown can go up to 8-10 meters tall.
Fruits are green, as big as large olive. Very hard shell with 2-3 peanut sized seeds inside.
Argan oil production reached 12 million liters yearly, less than 2% of all edible oils.
It has been famous since VIII century for the best quality
(better than olive oil) and exported in the countries of the middle east.
Unfortunately, in Europe it has been popularized just recently. Every agricultural market in Morocco has argan oils and aromatic argan water (a sub product for bakeries) for sale. The difference with other oils is the price. It often goes above $20 for half liter. The reason - most of the work is made by hand. In Europe and USA the price is a lot higher.
Moroccan woman grinding argan for oil.
Using as food and medicine.
It is an excellent salad dressing. Thick, with rich color and pleasing nutty flavor.
Not good for frying, but you cook with it. Just add it in the end.
(Use the whole bottle in 2-3 weeks after opening)
Argan oil is rich in vitamin A and fatty acids (80% of total volume). This makes it very god for the heart and arteries. Oleic acid protects you from "bad cholesterol" and increases "good cholesterol".
Some articles cite argan oil being good for lowering blood pressure, helping liver function to purify blood, stimulates metabolism, neutralizes free radicals and protects connective tissue. There are traces of anticancer compound named "skotenool".
If you take one tablesppon in the morning, you will feel satiated for longer and without stomach gurgling.
It is also rich on vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids.. Combined with olive and almond oil is good antioxidant and anti aging agent. The only essential fatty acid that argan oil does not have is the alpha-linoleic acid. That's why it is good to be mixed with other oils.
In Morroco there is a local aphrodiziac named "Amloo" (or something sounding like this). It is argan oil with honey and crushed roasted almonds. It is served on a slice of bread.
Argan oil as topical.
It can be used against a spectrum of skin conditions:
- Gives volume and vitality to the hair.
- Calms itchy scalp.
- Recovers burnt or damaged skin.
- Recovers cracked lips.
- Strengthens brittle nails.
- Eases rheumatoid pain.
Helps dozen of skin abnormalities like
- eczema and
- varicella zoster (chicken pox) pockmarks.
(Argan oil can actually cure acne with frequent use)
It can be found in some present day cosmetics or bought from a local pharmacy or health store (or online). Just be sure it is 60-100% clean and cold pressed (some brands sell a salad oil consisting of 90% soy oil and only 10% argan oil). If the argan oil is just a fraction and/or the oil is refined by boiling the liquid out, it is probably not that healthy. In all cases if you want a topical argan oil - aim for 100% and cold pressed. The price is as high as the quality.