Southwestern Morocco is the home of the argan tree (Argania spinosa). The argan tree produces a nut from which the rich, thin nutty flavored argan oil is extracted. The popularity of argan oil is on the rise as information technology brings its medicinal, dietary and cosmetic benefits and uses to the world’s stage.
Argan tree groves are invaluable to Morocco. These evergreen trees survive from 125 to 450 years. They benefit soil fertility, maintain humidity and need no cultivation, according to Natural News website. The root system of the argan tree, buried deeply within the ground, represents five times the upper part of the tree. The argan tree spontaneously loses its leaves during a period of drought to prevent the evaporation of moisture.
Argan oil nutrients include essential fatty acids (EFAs) and the precursor of vitamin E linoleic acid, making it a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants work to combat free radicals, the culprit of cell damage and early signs of aging. Argan oil moisturizes the skin, corrects dryness and improves skin elasticity. According to Argan Oil Morocco website, argan oil benefits cholesterol and artherosclerosis.
In traditional medicine, argan oil benefits conditions such as acne, scars or burns and chicken pox. As a dietary product argan oil may be used in dishes like soups, salads and fish. The nutty flavor of argan oil enhances the taste of many dishes. Argan oil is recognized for its moisturizing, rejuvenating and hydrating effects on the skin and for strengthening and beautifying the hair and nails according to, Argan Oil Morocco website.
Argan oil production is difficult. This rare product, endemic to the southwestern region of Morocco requires at least eight argan trees to produce 2 pts. (1L) of argan oil. In addition, the process includes the work of fruit drying, pulping and hand shelling the nut one by one, then roasting and crushing, grinding and extracting the argan oil.
The increased agricultural and other uses of argan oil have made argan tree an endangered species. According to Argan Morocco website, the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) took action regarding the Argan forest protection in 1999 as a World Heritage of Humanity.