What is Argan Oil?

September 20, 2012

Also known as the ‘Tree of Life’, argan oil is a plant oil which is extracted from the seeds of the argan tree, which grows natively in Morocco. This tree has been a source of living for the people and livestock of these arid regions for years. The oil from the tree is consumed by the people, while the cattle eat the press-cake which remains after the oil is extracted. The fruits and leaves are eaten by the goats, camels, and sheep. Moroccan argan oil is expensive and rare because of the scarcity of these trees around the world. However, the rare oil has proven to provide innumerous uses and benefits to its users, especially when it comes to cosmetics, and is thereby increasing in demand and value day by day. This oil is now being commonly referred to as the “miracle oil from Morocco” and “liquid gold” because of its gaining popularity in the beauty industries of the West.

Moroccan argan oil is produced in the kernels of the fruits of the argan tree. The yield of the oil when extracted varies between 30-55%, mainly depending on the method of extraction used. The correct way to extract the oil is by first drying the fruits in natural air. When dried, the pulp is removed from the fruit. The nuts of the fruit are cracked by hand then. The argan oil used for culinary purposes is produced by roasting the kernels lightly. When the kernels have cooled, they are grounded and then pressed. A pure and unfiltered oil is expelled by the brown mesh. The argan oil used for cosmetic purposes is extracted in a similar manner but the kernels are not roasted in it.

Moroccan argan oil is versatile when it comes to its properties and uses. As it has a high concentration of antioxidants like vitamin E and 80% omega 6 (fatty acids), it is an ultra-hydrating and nourishing oil used for the hair and skin. It repair damaged hair and adds a gloss to dull hair. For the skin, Moroccan argan oil is healing for conditions like acne, wrinkles and scarring. It absorbs quickly in the skin without making it greasy and yet, making it soft and supple. The triterpenoids benefits the skin by protecting it in ways like healing tissues, disinfecting it, protecting it from the sun, and anti-inflammation. The fatty acids in this oil prove to be more resistant to oxidation than olive oil is. Sterolins exist in the oil too which increases the skins metabolism, improves moisture retention and reduces inflammation. The vitamin E in it serves as an anti-aging agent as it neutralizes free radical damage and the saponins soften the skin. Morrocan argan oil reduces wrinkles and it restores the hydro-lipid layer of the skin.

The medicinal properties of argan oil include the reduction of inflammation as it contain flavonoids, and removal of cholesterol absorption in the intestines. The oil is being tested for cures of cancer as it has anti-cancer properties. It also aids in digestion as it raises the pepsin in the gastric juices of the stomach. The oil is also very beneficial for arthritis, and it strengthens the natural immunity of the body. In addition, when it is applied over chickenpox, eczema or acne it soothes the skin. It also prevents stretch marks when applied by expecting mothers.

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