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- 1 Argan Oil – Everything You Need To Know
- 1.1 How to Choose Argan Oil
- 1.2 How to Store Argan Oil
- 1.3 Cooking with Argan Oil
- 1.4 Argan Oil Benefits for Hair and Skin
- 1.5 Medicinal Use Of Argan Oil
- 1.6 Argan Oil in cosmetology
- 1.7 Possible Side Effects and Interactions
- 1.8 Final Words on Argan Oil
Argan Oil – Everything You Need To Know
Argan trees, the fruit of which produce the world’s most expensive vegetable argan oil, grows only in two places on earth – in Morocco and Mexico, but only bears fruit in Morocco.
The fruits of argan are like yellow olives and are very popular with local goats where they grow. They will climb for the sake of their favorite treats right on the trees. Some tourists especially come to see this attraction, and Moroccan shepherds are ready to drive as many cattle as possible to the tree for this reason.
The shell of the argan nuts is very hard, so they are extremely difficult to clean. After drying nuts in the sun, Berbers crushed them with heavy stones and cleaned by hand.
Rumor has it that the locals have come up with a strange, but original way to facilitate this hard work: they collect goat droppings, in which the shell after the passage of the animal’s gastrointestinal tract is already somewhat softened and clean them without much difficulty.
It is believed that the average life expectancy of an argan tree is about 150 years, although some botanists argue that 500 years is not the limit. About 25 thousand years ago, the area of growth of argan covered the entire region of North Africa. Today, the argan tree provides the life for two million Berbers, members of an indigenous group spanning across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger, and Mauretania.
They call argan the tree of life because it provides material for construction, fuel, food for humans and animal feed, as well as oils and medicine.
Unpretentious to the conditions, perfectly adapted to the tropical climate and drought, the evergreen tree can reach a height of 15 meters and is considered a rare “long-lived” in the Moroccan flora. The bone yellow, bitter taste, fleshy fruit of the tree contains 2-3 kernels, resembling the shape of an almond.
Watch this incredible video to learn more about Moroccan wonder
In the last half-century, the number of argan trees has decreased by more than a third because of the high demand for wood and land conversion programs for agricultural production. International organizations such as the UN and UNESCO have already joined in saving the future of argan.
Argan-oil production is threatening argan trees, which play a vital role in Morocco’s environment. Argan trees have always been extremely important to the environment in Morocco. In 1998, an area where the trees grow was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, because argan trees play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion and maintaining water resources.
Once beauty companies discovered the oil’s moisturizing properties, harvesting the oil from the nut of the fruit of the tree became more and more popular. The demand for argan oil has caused some cases of “aggressive harvesting.” Click Here to learn more about how Argan Oil products are made.
But it became known to the public quite recently, and only a few years ago, except Morocco, very few people in the world knew about this oil.
Argan oil, extracted by cold pressing of seeds, has long been considered one of the most expensive plant byproducts. There is a high cost of oil due to the limited area of distribution of wood, a large number of raw materials required for its production, and also due to the fact that the manufacturing of this valuable product is a time-consuming process.
Thus, to obtain 65 ounces of argan oil requires almost 220 lb of fruit (harvest from 12-13 trees), containing 66 lb of seeds, of which about 6 lb of kernels going to the manufacture of oil.
3 types of Argan Oil:
- cold pressed from roasted seed (only for culinary use)
- cold pressed from unroasted seed (due to the high concentration of substances useful for health)
- cosmetic oil from unroasted seeds.
How to Choose Argan Oil
In the Berber tradition, the oil is still produced by women by hand. Remember that oil produced in this way cannot be cheap; so it’s important to pay attention to the price. Be sure to find out the percentage of oil in the product. It should be 100 percent. No additives in the composition.
Also, refrain from buying oil produced in China or another country other than Morocco. Such products can have many additives, chemical elements, and fragrances in its composition, and the content of the oil itself can be extremely small. Be sure to smell the oil. Moroccan product will never have a sharp smell and contain synthetic fragrances. Natural oil has a delicate nutty smell.
How to Store Argan Oil
The most important rule is to keep the oil in a dark container. Following this rule is not difficult, because often argan oil is sold in dark bottles. If producers of argan oil package the oil in a transparent or light bottle, it should be poured into the dark. Darker containers protect the properties from being ruined by ultraviolet rays.
Experts do not advise to purchase this product if this condition was not met at the stage of manufacture. It is better not to buy a product in wrong packaging, as the risk of getting counterfeit is high.
In addition, it is important to remember that the oil can be stored no longer than two years. You must check it’s authenticity! If the packaging indicates a longer shelf life, it is likely that the oil is composed of additives that kill the beneficial properties.
Cooking with Argan Oil
To produce cooking oil, the seeds from the fruits of argan are pre-fried to give the final product a pleasant nutty smell, while the color can vary from dark yellow to red. The taste resembles pumpkin oil but has a little sharp, tart aftertaste with hints of spices and nuts.
It is recommended to use argan oil in moderation (just a few drops to successfully emphasize the taste and aroma of the dish). It is worth noting that the oil intended for use in cooking is not advised to use for frying, because the heat treatment may deteriorate organoleptic and healthy properties of the product.
For many centuries, argan oil has been used in the Moroccan cuisine and the rest of Africa. Most often, this product is used by Africans for filling fruit and vegetable salads, in the preparation of desserts and dishes from fish or meat. For example, tomato salad seasoned with argan oil mixed with basil and salt, and when added to a fruit salad, this product is advised to mix with lemon juice.
In the dressing for meat dishes traditionally added oil, pre-mixed with mustard. For breakfast in Morocco, pasta is prepared, which is mixed with honey and argan oil fried almonds (this mass is wrapped in wheat cakes or spread on bread).
As with any oil, this herbal product is very high in calories. Therefore, when you add argan oil to dishes suggest not to overdo it with the quantity.
Moroccans mix argan oil with roasted almonds and honey and wrap this delicious mass in pancakes or spread on bread. This dish gives energy and strength for the whole day, so it is better to take it at breakfast. And a good breakfast will be argan oil mixed with yogurt. This oil can be sprinkled with grilled meat or cheese during frying.
With the use of argan oil, an original snack is prepared. To do this, they take chickpeas, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, garlic and parsley. All ingredients are mixed in a blender. Then added a little argan oil and mixed again. This paste is best served with pita bread and raw vegetables.
Argan Oil Benefits for Hair and Skin
Medicinal Use Of Argan Oil
Argan oil, intended for medical use, is made by cold pressing unroasted seeds, so it is lighter in color than culinary oil, and almost odorless. This product contains the highest amount of vitamin E (argan oil content is three times higher than olive oil), carotenoids, oleic (40-60%) and linoleic (28-36%) fatty acids.
In addition, the oil contains stearic (6-8%), palmitic (13-16%), ferulic acid, polyphenols, triterpene alcohols, phytosterols, as well as squalene, a powerful antioxidant.
Useful and therapeutic properties to treat and prevent various diseases, it is better to use oil from raw seeds – in it, due to the minimal processing of raw materials, there are more useful vitamins, biologically active and mineral substances than in edible oil.
Argan oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and increases the effectiveness of their treatment. It helps to restore blood pressure and heart rate, reduce cholesterol, improves blood properties and can prevent the development of inflammation in the heart and blood vessels. That is why the use of oil is recommended for the prevention of atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, thrombophlebitis, thrombosis, varicose veins.
Argan oil increases the effectiveness of the treatment of infectious and inflammatory diseases of fungal and bacterial etiology, as it has anti-inflammatory properties and bactericidal effects. The use of argan oil helps to cleanse from harmful substances, increase immunity, prevents aging, reduces the risk of cancer.
Argan oil can exert a beneficial effect on the condition of the urogenital system in men. Due to the content of vitamin E and carotenoids in the oil, which play an important role in the functioning of the reproductive system (these substances are involved in spermatogenesis and synthesis of sex hormones).
Argan oil helps to improve vision. It has a beneficial effect on the state of the eyes, prevents the appearance of xerophthalmia, blepharitis, “night blindness“, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration.
This product also helps to improve glucose utilization, functional state of the liver and gastrointestinal tract, increase insulin production.
When applied externally, the oil improves blood circulation, has an anti-inflammatory effect, accelerates skin healing, activates wound healing and helps to eliminate pain in the joints and muscles. That is why it is recommended to use external oil for massage in osteochondrosis, gout, arthritis, arthrosis, to make applications in the treatment of traumatic injuries and dermatological diseases. To learn more about arthritis check out my article “How to Relieve Joint Pain”
Argan Oil in cosmetology
Rich substances contain in argan oil have a good effect on the condition of the skin, hair, and nails. Argan oil is traditionally used in cosmetology as an independent tool and as a component. Argan oil is in the composition of creams for hands and face, balms and masks for hair and skin, milks for removing makeup, lotions, after-shave, balms and lipsticks for the lips, sunscreen and skin-restoring “after sun” creams, and various hygiene products (soap, foam baths, shower gels, shampoos).
Quickly absorbed, it does not leave a feeling of stickiness and shine, oil has a fairly wide range of cosmetic action. It softens, nourishes, moisturizes and refreshes the skin, protects it from peeling and drying. The oil also restores the lipid balance of the skin disturbed due to the frequent use of soap, shower gels, shampoos, and enhances its barrier functions.
Argan oil can improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin, helping to smooth wrinkles and stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. This product accelerates the process of skin regeneration, protects the skin from inflammation and irritation.
Having anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties, normalizing the work of the sebaceous glands, the oil is often used in the treatment of acne. Also, this valuable product is suitable for gentle care of sensitive and thin skin around the eyes, the skin of the décolleté and bust.
Improving lymphatic drainage, blood circulation argan oil is often used as a component of massage oils (including anti-cellulite massage). Argan oil is very effective in the fight against stretch marks that appear during pregnancy. In addition, argan oil is often used as a base oil along with essential oils in aromatherapy.
It should be noted that argan oil is also known as an effective tool for the care of brittle, damaged and split hair. It’s an oil that restores the structure of lifeless and dull hair, gives them a healthy shine, silky and soft, protecting from the harmful effects of the environment.
Nourishing and moisturizing skin, improving the blood supply to the hair follicles, providing anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal action, normalizing the sebaceous glands of the skin oil is used in the treatment of alopecia, dandruff, and seborrhea.
Some medical studies suggest that orally ingested Argan Oil may have a positive effect on certain health conditions, including osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Learn More…
Possible Side Effects and Interactions
There are several reports in the literature of argan leading to a rash (contact dermatitis.) Side effects related to oral usage are uncertain as few human studies have been conducted.
Final Words on Argan Oil
Why You Need to Understand How Your Argan-Oil Products Are Made