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Argan

argan
Argan

Used by the local Amazigh people of Morocco, for its ability to help heal the look of scars and for soothing rheumatic problems – among many other beneficial qualities. Argan oil today is one of the hottest beauty products on the market. It is widely available in spice shops throughout the medinas of Morocco, but the quality varies, as does the price. With few regulations guiding the ‘certified bio’ classification, one really has to know their argan oil facts to be sure it’s the real deal. Whether you’re out for its healing powers, or in need of a new nutty flavour for your culinary adventures, here’s what to look for when buying argan oil in Morocco.

Cultivation

Morocco is the only nation that hosts a meaningful scale. Morocco’s argan forests cover about 800,000 hectares near the Souss Valley, an area framed by the Atlas Mountains, Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, which hosts roughly 21 million trees and has been given UNESCO protection as a ‘biosphere reserve’.

Argan husks are reportedly 16 times tougher than a hazelnut shell. Stories, dating back to the 13th century, explaining that goats would eat the fruits, locals later collecting their droppings to retrieve the argan nuts, which had been conveniently softened by the animals’ stomach juices. This method saved on labour by making the kernels easier to salvage, but the resulting oil had a distinct stink to it.

ARGAN OIL BENEFITS

MOROCCAN OIL WAS INSPIRED BY THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF ARGAN OIL. RICH IN VITAMINS, MINERALS AND ANTIOXIDANTS, THIS AGE-OLD BEAUTY SECRET HAS MANY USES, HELPING TO HYDRATE AND SOFTEN YOUR HAIR, FACE, BODY AND NAILS.

WITH ITS HIGH CONTENT OF ANTIOXIDANTS, ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS AND VITAMIN E, THE BENEFITS OF OIL NATURALLY HELP REVITALISE SKIN, INCREASE HAIR’S ELASTICITY AND CONSISTENTLY RESTORE SHINE TO DULL, LIFELESS HAIR. IT IS A POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT, UV-PROTECTOR AND FREE-RADICAL NEUTRALISER.

OIL FOR HAIR LEAVES IT BEAUTIFUL, SHINY AND NOURISHED WITH EACH USE.  FOR SKIN LUXURIOUSLY HYDRATES AND INFUSES IT WITH MOISTURE. OIL HAS ALSO BEEN KNOWN TO HELP REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF WRINKLES.

Culinary Use, Cosmetic Uses and benefits

Argan oil is generally used for dipping bread and drizzle on couscous or salads. However, the most common use of argan oil in Morocco remains Amlou.

Amlou is a thick brown paste with a texture similar to peanut butter obtained by grinding roasted almond and argan oil, mixed with honey. Amlou is known as a speciality from the South of Morocco and is usually used as a bread dip or spread.

For many centuries, argan oil embodied the main constituent of traditional Berber medicine where it was used for many illnesses such as rheumatism, heart disease and skin conditions. However, for the past decade, argan oil became the most prominent component in the beauty industry. In fact, researchers discovered the oil’s exceptional anti-ageing property and superfood power. Argan oil contains 80 % unsaturated fatty acids and laboratory testing has demonstrated that oil has antioxidant properties, neutralises free radical agents, protects conjunctive tissue and restores the skin’s water-lipid layer and finally lowers bad cholesterol.  

Numerous statements have been made regarding the positive impacts on health generated by the consumption of argan oil. Researchers have established that daily consumption of argan oil is “highly likely” to be one factor that helps prevent various diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

The only thing that we need to keep in my mind about culinary argan oil is that it is not suitable for cooking, as it can’t be heated.

Colour and Consistency

True oil should be clear, although somewhat murky, but dull yellow in colour. Anything too golden may indicate that the argan oil has been mixed with other oil varieties to keep costs low. After all, 30 kilograms of nuts are required to produce one kilogram of oil. The oil should be rather light when applied to the skin, and even though the skin may not absorb it quickly, over time it will. The oil that washes off in the shower the next day may not be of the finest quality or purest form.

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