Argan oil, one of the most valuable and expensive vegetable oils, is made from the fruits of the argan tree; an ancient plant. Argania (Latin: Argania Spinosa) or argan tree has been cultivated for thousands of years in the dry, desert regions in south-western Morocco on an area of 820,000 hectares. The argan tree only finds suitable growth conditions there. All attempts to cultivate it in other parts of the world failed. It lives up to 450 years old and reaches a height of 6 meters. Its wide crown, which can reach a 14 meter diameter, provides shade for humans and animals in these hot desert regions. Camels, sheep and goats feed on its leaves.
Before you choose argan oil, you should research the exact origin, purity and quality of the product. We examined the most popular products on Amazon and listed the results here.
Worldwide studies prove the benefits of cosmetic external and internal therapeutic use, and the demand for argan oil is increasing steadily. But that is not the only reason why it has always been in great demand. Many consumers appreciate the refreshing nutty, exotic taste that the oil gives salads and other dishes.
Some scientists are skeptical about the rising trend of Argan oil. Because for example olive oil contains significantly more oleic acid and the vitamin E content and in wheat germ oil the Vitamin E is more than twice as high.
The high price of argan oil, which is a direct result of its elaborate production, creates the impression of high exclusivity. However, one shouldn't expect argan oil to work miraculously. Nevertheless, the rare phytosterols Schottenol and Spinasterol, which are the focus of recent scientific studies, are found only in argan oil.
Pure argan oil or argan oil mixed into creams and lotions protects the skin from drying out, tightens, and smoothes out fine lines in the skin. It absorbs well and does not leave a layer of oily film on the skin: it does not clog the pores and regulates the production of natural skin oils. Decreasing skin elasticity due to the fluctuations of hormones in menopause is significantly reduced by the vitamin E and ferulic acid it contains. For a stronger effect, we recommend oral intake of the oil at the same time. Read more ...
Due to the natural vitamin E content, argan oil has a slight sun protection factor, approx. SPF 3. If you sunbathe for longer than 10 minutes, you need further protection. In cases of sunburn, it nourishes and regenerates the skin.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect of argan oil calms inflamed skin and destroys bacteria, including acne causing bacteria. It soothes and revitalises the skin without drying it out. By doing so, preserves the skin's natural protective pH and protects it from further bacterial infiltration. With the simultaneous intake of argan oil (3 x 1 tbsp / day), the added enefit of hormone regulation can also play a role, from within... Read more ...
Very thin, dry, almost parchment-like skin typical of atopic dermatitis benefits from argan oil, which gives the skin its elasticity back and heals cracks. At the same time, it relieves severe itching. [Read more] (/ skin diseases) ...
Taking argan oil regulates hormone levels. This was confirmed by a Study with women in or after menopause carried out in Morocco in 2014. Therefore, simultaneous oral use for acne and pimples, wrinkling and dry skin and cellulite is always recommended. However, there are other areas of application, which are briefly described below.
The cause of bleeding gums which can eventually cause severe health issues is often simply stubborn plaque. This build-up is due to an over-acidic environment in the mouth. Regular intake of argan oil in the morning dissolves the plaque and removes the harmful substances that collected in the oral cavity overnight.
Wound healing plays a major role in the skin problems and diseases listed above. But also other wounds, abrasions and cuts or burns heal better, without excessive inflammation. Argan oil keeps the edges of the wound soft and prevents scarring.
Pigment spots, which often occur in advanced age and / or after too much sun exposure, can partially or completely disappear with regular treatment (at least twice a day). An additional oral intake increases the beneficial effects. Read more ...
Argan oil tightens connective tissue and promotes blood circulation. When used from the 3rd month of pregnancy (at the latest), it helps to prevent stretch marks and tissue tearing.
It is ideal for removing make-up from waterproof mascara: it does not burn the eyes and cares for the sensitive skin around the eyes.
The anti-inflammatory effect of argan oil has a positive effect on inflamed, painful joints. Rub the affected joints several times a day with argan oil and at the same time take pure argan oil or add it as an ingredient in lettuce and vegetables salads.
A large-scale study conducted by Canadian researchers in 2006 looked at the effects of argan oil on the cardiovascular system. A reduction in oxidative stress and the prevention of arteriosclerosis was demonstrated. I.e. Regular intake of argan oil protects against cardiovascular diseases. Also in the Specialist book 'Argan Oil' the Munich based medical doctor Dr. Peter Schleicher discusses the preventive effects of argan oil against cardiovascular diseases. His research showed a cholesterol-lowering effect, which subsequently prevented asteriosclerosis. In addition, regular intake ensures more elastic cells and thus greater resistance of the blood vessel walls.
Cellulite is a non-inflammatory change in the subcutaneous fatty tissue in women in the area of the buttocks and thighs: resulting in small dents and love handles, reminiscent to the outer skin of an orange. The hormone estrogen, and a mild congestion of the lymph fluids are responsible. A healthy diet, sufficient fluids and exercise are also said to play an important role. Read more ...
Argan oil helps dry and damaged hair, gives it more shine and elasticity. Regular head massages prevent dandruff and hair loss, promote natural hair growth and can prevent hair loss. [Read more](/ hair) ...
With brittle fingernails and a nail bed that tears easily, the oil is distributed directly onto fingernails and cuticles and should be massaged in. The fingernails become elastic and shimmer slightly, the nail bed feels soft again, inflammation and cracks heal.
Argan oil relieves the itching of insect bites and soothes skin eczema. If skin eczema persists, the cause should be clarified by a dermatologist.
A French study in 2003 investigated the anti-carcinogenic effects of argan oil on cancer cells. The ingredients of a Moroccan argan oil and an argan oil made in France were compared. Furthermore, extra virgin olive and sunflower oil were also compared. The analysis of these three different types of oil showed that the anti-carcinogenic effect is due to the special combination of tocopherol, squalene, sterols and oleic acid. Above all, the sterols and polyphenols only contained in argan oil destroy prostate cancer cells.
Argan oil is also available in the form of capsules as a dietary supplement, and as an addition to many cosmetic products such as creams, soaps, shower gels and shampoos. Argan oil can has many uses, both superficially and internally.
When used externally, argan oil is a therapy for skin and hair problems. The internal use of argan oil helps to avoid cardiovascular disease, regulates blood lipid levels and the hormonal balance and provides relief for joint problems. Recent studies have even shown that cancer cells are destroyed.
There are many suppliers who offer argan oil in different sizes. Regardless of whether the oil is bought in the health food store or online, pay attention to the quality, which depends on the type of production. Only naturally pure, cold-pressed argan oil has the full effect!
Our recommendation is only to buy pure argan oil that has been gently pressed and not heated without chemical additives. When shopping, pay attention to terms such as "100%", "naturally pure", "native", "cold pressed", "pure". Pure argan oil is golden yellow with a subtle but characteristic fragrance. Darker shades are an indication of impure or older oil with less of the desired efficacy.
Argan oil originates from the natural Moroccan environment, and is produced and processed without environmental toxins or chemical additives. It is a pure natural product with no additive based side effects. Studies have shown that even high overdoses do not cause any side effects or symptoms of intoxication.
Nevertheless, there are alwayspeople with sensitivities who could have an allergic reaction, especially if they already have an existing nut allergy. In this case, argan oil should be tested in a small dose on the inside of the forearm prior to application. Massage the oil in, at one point alone, with circular movements of the fingertips and wait half an hour to an hour. If there is no reaction in the form of redness, swelling or eczema during this time,the argan oil can be applied.
Redness has occasionally been observed in patients with skin diseases, such as eczema or acne, which can occur during the regeneration and healing processes of the skin. However, these disappear after a few days.
The oil has also been available on the European market since 1997 and is enjoying growing popularity worldwide as an addition to exotic dishes and salads, but also as a remedy and exclusive cosmetic. The robust trees are at native to south-western Morocco in the desert region of Souss-Massa-Draa and do not grow anywhere else.
Because of the uniqueness of the tree, the area in southwestern Morocco was declared a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 1998 and in 2014 the knowledge about the cultivation and processing of fruit, which has been handed down for centuries, was recognized as the intangible heritage of mankind.
Since the argan tree is threatened with extinction, the Moroccan government is now investing in the cultivation of argan trees, as it ensures a fair income for many Moroccan Berber women who have been organized in cooperatives for some time. The complex production, the unique taste and the therapeutic effect, which has been proven in many studies, explain the relatively high price.
Argan oil is one of the most expensive oils in the world, which can partly be explained by the elaborate production, partly by laborious manual work. For one liter of oil, several women work eight hours and need about 30 kg of seeds.
11 million litres of argan oil are produced annually, relatively little compared to the production of approximately 3 billion litres of olive oil annually. From July to September, the fruits begin ripen and the complex process of argan oil production begins.
Due to the many thorns, the olive-shaped fruits cannot be picked, but are picked up by hand from the ground and dried. Then the Berber women break open the very hard shell with a stone by hand and sometimes use stone mills to press the valuable oil out of the inner cores. The harvesting and processing of argan nuts is done almost exclusively by Berber women cooperating in groups.
From July through to September they collect the ripe fruit from the ground, which cannot be picked directly from the tree due to the sharp thorns. Then remove the outer, rubbery shell and break the very hard inner shell of the nut from underneath, using stones. The results are: the two to four seed plates, the size of sunflower seeds, from which the argan oil is obtained.
This work requires skill and strength, because the shells, which are many times harder than those of the hazelnut, have to be struck exactly at the seam with the stone. Some operations are now using machines to open and grind the nuts.
The seeds are then dried in the sun and roasted over a fire, which gives the argan oil a typical nutty taste. The seeds are ground into an oily porridge with hand mills, then kneaded into small, brown cakes, onto which lukewarm water is repeatedly poured until the oil dissolves.
In the following weeks, the oil is filtered several times until finally the pure golden yellow argan oil is created. To produce the argan oil used in cosmetics, most of the unroasted kernels are machine-stripped and pressed in Europe. This argan oil has a light colour and can taste slightly bitter, since small remnants of the leathery outer shell are not always completely removed by the machines.
This type of Argan oil therefore not suitable for consumption. Argan cooking oil, on the other hand, can be ingested orally as well as used for skin and hair care. The shelf life of hand-pressed oil is two years while that of machine-made oil only three to four months.
Goats used to play an important role in the production of argan oil. As hardy climbers, they reach the argan trees via its hanging branches and eat the leaves and ripe fruit. The oily nuts are excreted without their leathery shell.
This spares the tedious task of removing the leathery outer shell by hand - all that was necessary was to open the oval nuts and process the seeds inside into argan oil. Today, however, goats are no longer involved in the production process. The Berber women collect the nuts from the floor and remove the leather shell by hand.
Argania Spinosa, also called the ironwood tree, is a unique tree that belongs to the sapot family - evergreen trees that grow in very hot climates and can reach an age of 250-400 years. After 5 years of growth, they bear fruit every two years, which can be harvested in the summer. The greatest yields are obtained from argan trees 50 to 60 years old. Because of its long roots, which reach up to 30 m deep, the frugal and robust argania can survive in extremely dry, desert-like zones and in the Atlas Mountains at up to 1,300 meters above sea level at temperatures up to 50° C. During longer periods of drought, the argan tree sheds all leaves to rely less on hydration hibernates until its environment presents more favourable conditions. These qualities define a survivor of the desert.
The broad crown of leaves with deeply hung branches reach a diameter of 10 to 14 meters; the tree itself a height of four to eight meters. Some specimens can also grow up to twelve meters high. The bark is typically cracked, and similar to the scales of snake skin, the leathery leaves grow in clusters on thorny branches. In spring, the tree is littered with small, five millimeter large, yellow-green flowers that sit in the leaf axes. Date-shaped, hard berries ripen from the flowers until September, which are initially green, but later turn reddish when ripe. This leathery outer shell contains the oval nut kernel with a very hard shell, in which there are one to four dark brown seeds the size of sunflower seeds, from which the argan oil is pressed.
Until 1930 Argan trees could be found in Algeria, Mauritania and southern Morocco, but today there are only 21 million argan trees on about 8000 square kilometers in south-western Morocco near Agadir and between Marrakech, Essaouira and Ounagha. It only grows there, no other place in the world has been successful in cultivation. These areas were declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1998.
The UNESCO’s decree preserving the unique cultivation and manufacturing process as a cultural heritage was another important measure to protect this unique tree. The wild argan trees in naturally grown forests give the impression that the trees do not belong to anyone, but every single tree has an owner, who guards the ripe fruit. The Berber women, who are becoming ever more organized, collect the ripe fruit from the ground and process it into argan oil in a complex process.
Today, the Moroccan government is investing in the afforestation and cultivation of new argan trees, as this prevents soil erosion in the desert margins and ensures many Berber families a fair income. In addition, this traditional crop, which is endemic to Morocco, is thereby preserved for future generations.
|Jojoba oil properties|
|✔ penetrates into deeper skin layers|
|✖ not suitable for consumption|
|✔ not greasy and non-comedogenic|
|✔ antibacterial and anti-inflammatory|
|✔ Shelf life up to 25 years|
|✔ Fungicidal (Mushroom killing)|
|✔ Sun protection factor 3 - 4|
|✔ binds moisture|
|✔ suitable for consumption|
|✔ is well absorbed into the skin|
|✔ slightly antibacterial|
|✔ Shelf life up to 2 years|
|✖ no fungicidal effect|
|✖ no sun protection factor|
|Oleic acid||10 %||50 %|
|Palmitic acid||1,5 %||15 %|
|Erucic acid||15 %||-|
|Gadoleic acid||70 %||-|
|Nervonic acid||2 %||-|
|Linoleic acid||-||32 %|
|Stearic acid||-||5 %|
The argan tree is of great importance for the regions on the edge of the desert. It has few but certain requirements and requires a minimum amount of water and nutrients. With its deep roots, it holds the stony, barren soil and thus prevents soil erosion and the further expansion of the desert. High temperatures and drought are no serious threat to the individual tree. Other plants grow in its shade, as well. Goats and dromedaries (arabian camels) feed on its leaves and the wood is used for construction and firewood. The oil extracted from the seeds has always been used by the Amazigh Berber tribe as cooking oil, as a remedy for chickenpox and arthritis, and for the general care and treatment of skin and hair.