Argan (Argania spinosa) is a tree species native to the sub-valley of southwestern Morocco and the only species of the species Argania. Cultivating from 8 to 10 meters in height and having a life span of 150 to 200 years, the fruit and oil produced by Argan have been grown by indigenous women in Morocco for hundreds of years. Below we take a look at the history and benefits of this super-skin food.
What is it?
Flowering once a year in April, the argan tree produces small fruits 2-4 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide, composed of five pale yellow-green petals. Wrapped in a thick, bitter skin that surrounds a layer of fragrant pulp is the nut containing the oil-rich seeds in the shape of almonds. Taking more than a year to mature, once the fruits have ripened, the nuts fall from the tree. At this point, they are ready for harvest.
Originally from Argana, a small village in the northeast of the Moroccan city of Agadir, the argan tree has been cultivated by indigenous Berber women of Morocco for hundreds of years. While many parts of the nut have been used as a source of food and building material - the most notable use is the oil itself that Berber women have been using for centuries to protect their skin from desert conditions and for the treatment of skin diseases. like eczema, acne, fear and psoriasis.
How is it extracted
After picking, the nuts are sun-dried for seven days. After this process, they are pulped and sliced by hand using ancient techniques that Berber women have used in the Argan region of Morocco for hundreds of years - a technique still used today for the extraction of lamb. 'Argan Oil. This hands-on approach ensures that only the highest quality nuts come into its oil and many organic brands work with cooperatives to ensure fair wages for women.
What to look for
All argan oils are not equal. There are three important factors to keep in mind when determining quality -
"Goat Factor": The nuts that are collected for the oil must have the outer pulp intact. If there is no pulp, it means that the nut has been eaten and digested by a goat (goats like to eat nuts) giving a less than pleasant smell to the oil.
Location: There are five regions in southern Morocco where the argan tree is found, and each of these regions differ depending on their soil, weather conditions and exposure to environmental elements and the use of pesticides that may offset the benefits. The choice of a certified organic mark is important to ensure the best quality.
Harvesting, extraction and storage: The nuts must always be harvested on the ground to ensure that they are sufficiently ripe for harvesting. It also helps protect the tree from damage.
Composed of more than twice the vitamin E of olive oil, argan oil is composed of 80% of fatty acids, including omega 6 and omega 9, two key components of health optimal skin.
Presented to help restore skin tone and elasticity, reduce fine lines and neutralize free radicals and protect the skin against environmental aggressions - the therapeutic benefits of argan oil have been propagated by natives of Morocco for more than eight centuries.
Traditionally known for its ability to treat skin infections thanks to high levels of monounsaturated (up to 80%) and saturated (up to 20%) fatty acids, minor components of Argan include polyphenols, tocopherols , sterols, squalene and triterpene alcohols. In combination with monounsaturated fatty acids, these minor components are likely to be responsible for its beneficial effects in relation to the health of the skin. In addition, the protective anti-proliferative, anti-diabetic and cardiovascular effects of argan oil have recently been evaluated in order to rely on phyto-chemical studies that indicate the presence of large quantities of pharmacologically active compounds in the body. 'oil.