Argan oil is rich in naturally occurring antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carotenoids, ferulic acid, sterols, polyphenols, and contains high levels of vitamin E. It is also known as argon oil or argane oil is derived from the ‘Argania Spinosa’ tree which is indigenous to Morocco. Traditionally, the women of Morocco have utilized argan oil as the foundation of their beauty regimen, applying it to their skin, hair and nails. Today, the beauty benefits of argan oil are known, and this oil is used extensively in several beauty products worldwide.
The argan tree is a very resistant and can live up to 200 years. It is perfectly adapted to the aridity of the South Western regions of Morocco. Its roots grow deep in search of water and thus help retain the soil, preventing erosion and limiting the advance of the desert. In 1999, UNESCO added the argan tree to the World Heritage List.
Why is Argan Oil So Expensive?
Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the Argan tree (Argania spinosa L.). This tree is not found in any other place except Morocco. Currently, it is also an endangered plant and the Moroccan Government is taking steps to plant more of these trees. But the global demand is much higher than the net production.
The Extraction Process
Traditional method: Morocco’s mountain goat, called the Tamri goat, eats the fruit of the Argan tree. The goats climb the trees to get to the nut. Sometimes ten or more at a time in one tree. The Berbers of ancient Morocco would collect undigested argan pits from the waste of goats which had the seed completely undigested, and use that to produce the argan oil.
Press Extraction: First the nuts are cracked open by hand and the fleshy fruit is discarded. Then the Kernel is ground, mixed with water and then pressed to produce Argan Oil. Sometimes the kernel is roasted before extraction which removes most of its cosmetic benefits. Since the first part of the process is done by hand it cost a lot to extract this oil which makes it very expensive.
Argan Oil Uses
Argan Oil is traditionally used for skin, hair, nail care, cooking, massage, preventing stretch marks, and the natural healing of dermatological disorders. Research has revealed that argan oil- restores the skin’s water-lipid layer and increases the amount of nutrients and oxygen in the skin cell, neutralizes free radicals, and protects connective tissue.
1. Helps Relieve Arthritic Pain
Argan Oil is 80% unsaturated essential fatty acids. The most abundant of which are Omega 9 (Oleic acid) and Omega 6 (Linoleic acid). Omega 6 is the most sought after of the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids protect cellular integrity and affect cell fluidity, helping to prevent loss of moisture from the skin. They play a vital role in the formation of prostaglandin, a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces pain, swelling and inflammation, while stimulating blood circulation. This vital component makes Argan Oil ideal for massaging stiff arthritic joints and aching muscles.
2. Anti-Aging Properties
Argan is considered an effective anti-aging oil due to properties such as the high levels of vitamin E /tocopherols (anti-oxidants help neutralise free radical damage, which is important for skin exposed to polluted environments) and saponins (skin-softening agents). Besides cooling and soothing inflammation, it is also reputed to help reduce wrinkles by restoring the skin`s hydro-lipid layer.
3. Tightens Skin and Reduces Fine Lines
Argan Oil is exceptionally rich in natural Tocopherols (vitamin E) as well as high molecular weight proteins. Vitamin E contributes to the steady development of all bodily systems, protects fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids, attracts and maintains hydration, and is a powerful anti-oxidant. The abundance of high molecular weight proteins found in our product construct a network of molecules that creates an instant and visible tightening effect.
4. Lowers Cholesterol
Culinary argan oil has a light and delectable taste that promotes a heart-healthy lifestyle. In recent clinical trials, the consumption of argan oil is shown to lower cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular risk factors thus defending against the onset of atherosclerosis. The extremely high levels of essential fatty acids and the anti-oxidant effect of vitamin E, sterols, and polyphenols help protect your heart and contribute a healthy lifestyle. Read the research here.
5. Prevents Damage Caused by UV
Ferulic Acid is the most abundant phenolic compound found in Argan Oil. This antioxidant helps prevent damage caused by ultraviolet light. Exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases the antioxidant potency of ferulic acid. It is often added as an ingredient of anti-aging supplements. Studies have shown that ferulic acid can decrease blood glucose levels and can be of help to diabetes patients. It seems to protect against many types of cancer, bone degeneration and menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. Like many other antioxidants, ferulic acid reduces the level of cholesterol and triglyceride, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
6. Culinary Use
Culinary argan oil is renowned for its light nutty aroma and delicate taste. It can be used as a balanced dietary supplement while also protecting the body against cardiovascular disease and inflammatory disorders. Recent clinical studies have shown argan to be an effective means for lowering cholesterol.
But, argan oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and must not be heated. Instead, steam or broil your food and add the oil afterwards, for flavor only. You can also use it sparingly in salad dressing. It is better to keep the oil refrigerated and consume it quickly once you open the bottle. Argan oil is also used in the preparation of Amlou (which has aphrodisiac virtues), a mix of almonds, honey and argan oil which is delicious on toasts.
7. Anti-Cancer Properties
Sterols (Phytosterols) are a class of lipid-like compounds that helps to prevent skin aging by improving skin metabolism and reducing inflammation. They promote excellent moisture retention and penetrate quickly. They work in harmony with human skin because the chemical structure of plant sterols and human sterols is very similar. In the skin, human sterols are the main component of its outermost layer and play a fundamental role in aiding and maintaining optimal skin barrier function.
Two of the families of sterols found in Argan oil, schottenol and spinasterol, are known for their anticancer properties and are rarely found in vegetable oils. Additionally, sterols are known to block cholesterol absorption sites in the human intestine thus helping to reduce the overall amount absorbed in the body. Argan oil also contains Squalene, a unique and rare component which is suggested to protect against skin cancer. Read the research here.
8. Healing Properties
The active substances called triterpenoids that occur in Argan Oil offer amazing skin protection benefits. These include tissue healing (scars), anti-inflammatory, sun-protective and disinfectant properties. The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. Argan oil also contains 0.8% unsaponifiables (a large group of compounds also known as plant sterols or sterolins). Sterolins improve skin metabolism, reduce inflammation and promote excellent moisture retention.