Argan Oil is a Tree Based Oil
Argan oil is produced from the fruit of the argan tree (Argania spinosa). The argan tree is indigenous to Morocco. This oil has been used prolifically since ancient times by the native people – Berber – of the region for variety of beneficial uses.
The geography of Southern Morocco, where argan trees usually grow, is very arid and dry. Generally it stays quite harsh through out the year and droughts are very common. The argan tree has adapted itself well to this region. Its deep root system not only help but allow it to thrive in this region. Additionally the deep roots protects the region against soil erosion. So much so, that the argan tree is in fact the last bastion against the advance of the ever growing Sahara desert.
Argan oil is a very popular yet rare commodity as it is harvested from trees that grow only in a very small & specific growth area, a certain region of Morocco. The world is witnessing an ever increasing demand as more and more people find out about the amazing healing & rejuvenating properties of this “Moroccan gold”.
Argan Oil Extraction
The process follows a very traditional method of extraction which begins with collecting the kernels, washing them, cracking them open using stone grinders and making a brown paste out of them. Further refinement using the grinders produced the oil.
It is quite interesting to note that separating the kernel from the fruit is still done by hand as efforts to mechanize the process have been unsuccessful. Not surprisingly, this makes extracting the oil quite a time consuming and labor intensive effort. Due to these reasons, there is a price premium as well.
Once the oil is extracted, it is decanted and left to rest for about 2 weeks. By letting it sit like this, the remaining suspended solids in the oil settle down, thus creating a natural sediment. This further clear argan oil may be additionally filtered depending on the quality and clarity once is trying to achieve.
Decanted – gradually pour liquid from one container into another, esp. without disturbing the sediment.
Argan oil has been found to have medicinal qualities in abundance. It has especially been found to be nourishing for the hair and rejuvenating for skin with some even using it successfully for skin issues like acne, flaking etc.
Argan Oil Properties
Argan oil has extremely high levels of Vitamin E and 80% fatty acids which make it perfect for healing many skin ailments. It is full of vitamins and antioxidants and forms an excellent base for moisturizers, shampoos and other care products. The active substances called triterpenoids that occur in Argan Oil offer amazing skin protection benefits.
Due to the immense popularity of argan oil, the Moroccan government has seized on this opportunity to make life better for a huge section of its people and has plans for significant increase in argan oil production. The aim being to increase annual production from approximately 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Img Credit: Ashley Hershberger