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PURE ORGANIC ARGAN OIL - THE WONDERS AND BENEFITSAs modern technology improves, our world seems to shrink, making resources available that were once unheard of or considered exotic. Argan oil from the desert of southwestern Morocco is one such a resource that has been valued for its nutritional, cosmetic and medicinal properties for centuries.
The Origin of Argan Oil:
Argan oil, otherwise known as Moroccan oil, nut oil or liquid gold is a natural oil extracted by pressing the nut of the Argan tree. It was first reported by European explorers in the early 1500s when this tree once covered the most of northern Africa, but is now an endangered species that only grows in a small portion of Morocco, primarily on an immense plantation, producing some of the rarest natural oil on Earth. The large Argan tree is a wonder in itself with a lifespan of 150 to 200 years and strong roots that help to maintain the soil and counter the devastating effects of drought and soil erosion. Indigenous tribes’ people have harvested the extremely strong nuts and pressed the oil from them to use in daily life for thousands of years, but the introduction of this effective oil is relatively new to other cultures and is gaining popularity rapidly.
Argan Oil’s Beneficial Properties
Argan oil has been become widely used in culinary practices and beauty products because of its high concentration of vitamin E, its wide variety of healthy fatty acids, including omega 3 and omega 6, and, depending on its extraction method, its resistance to oxidation.
Argan Oil in Cuisine
In cooking, Argan oil is also considered more nutritious and healthy and is also very aromatic. Traditionally, The Berders, have used Argan oil to bake bread. When mixed with herbs and spices, argan oil is used as a dip for bread, on couscous, and in salads. A local favorite similar to peanut butter is a thick brown paste called amlou which is a Moroccan bread dipping staple created by grinding roasted almonds and argan oil with stones and finished by adding honey to the mixture. Argan oil has been known to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and fight a number of cancer types, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.
A Cosmetic Miracle
Unroasted Argan oil has been traditionally used to treat skin diseases and to moisturize skin, hair, and nails. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the past decade with the help of the Internet. Many boast of its curative properties, as well as being chemical-free.
A few drops of Argan oil applied directly to the skin nourish dry patches with its high vitamin E and fatty acid content. Likewise, it can alleviate acne and scarring from blemishes and prevent stretch marks. Applied to the nails and cuticles, Argan oil improves nail growth and strength. It has also shown to reduce dandruff and frizzy dead-ends when applied to the hair and scalp. The oil can also be used to give a gentle facial and body massage as it is easily absorbable. Due to its nourishing properties, many cosmetic companies have combined Argan oil and pomegranate seed oil with its anti-oxidizing properties for an all-in-one skin and hair serum.
All of these uses have prompted the Moroccan government to radically increase the production of Argan oil in the next decade, a decision that will positively impact the environment since more Argan trees will improve the stability of the local landscape and ward off desertification. It also has socio-economic impact as most of the Argan oil is produced by women’s cooperatives and helps women earn money for their family.
Due to its increasing popularity, this nut oil is easily available for purchase. When shopping for Argan oil and products made from it, make sure it meets the following guidelines:
- It should be completely organic and natural.
- No synthetic chemicals (PEG, silicon, parabens) are being used.
- The oil should be from one of the many women’s cooperatives in Morocco.