Argan oil – Moroccan women’s secret of beautySince ancient times oil ointment has been a precious elixir of beauty and basic element of hygiene and cure for the women of Morocco. Until this day they continue to rub oil into the skin, just like their mothers taught them. The Moroccan women look as if they had descended the canvases of Gogen witht their glittering skin.
Argan oil is produced from the kernels of unique African tree Argania spinosa („iron tree”), endemic to Morocco. This evergreen tree with sharp thorns grows and gives fruits for 300 years in hot African dessert conditions. The fruits of argan tree are similar to olives with thick bitter peel. Inside a very tough kernel containing enriched with oils seeds that ripe during one year.
Argan trees were first reported and explored by the explorer Leo Africanus in 1510 and the first mention of this tree can be dated back to 25 million years ago.
For centuries local aborigines used the argan oil to protect from relentless sun rays and harsh climate, to moisturise and nourish the skin, to heal the wounds and burns, to give the skin firmness and elasticity. Unique properties can be explained with its unique chemical composition. The oil contains:
- 80% of unsaturated oils:
- Vitamin F (fatty acids), as well as Omega 6 (35%), Omega 3, oleic (40-60%), arachidonic, palmitic (15%) and other acids;
- Vitamin Е (tocopherols) 70mg/100gr of argan oil contains 3 times more than the olive oil.
- 20% saturated fatty acids:
- Sterols 140mg/100gr;
- Carotenes 270mg/100gr.
EXTRACTION OF AGRAN OIL
Production of argan oil is very time consuming and complicated and is done only by women. For many centuries the secrets of argan oil extraction where passed on from mother to daughter.
The collection of fruits from prickly Argania spinosa is entrusted to the animals. Moroccan goats due to lack of the grass climb up the trees and graze there with entire herd on leaves and fruits. When the goats leave, locals collect fallen kernels and nuts.
In the beginning, the fruits dry out in the sun for few weeks. Afterwards, using stones, the kernels are being broken and the seeds taken out. In one working day one woman can grind up to 1 kilo of seeds in the stone mill. From the smooth substance the oil is squeezed manually. Only 1/3 of the whole crop is used for oil, since the oil seeds constitute only the small portion of the fruit. As a result, out of 100 kg of Argan tree fruits, we get only 1-2 litres of Argan oil.
Argan oil is one of the most expensive, rare and precious oils in the world. It is comparable in price with truffles, oysters and caviar.
TREE OF LIFEThe tree Argania spinosa ensures life for 2 million Berbers (indigenous people of Morocco). According to the research there are almost 2 million trees growing in Morocco region in the area of 8 000 square meters. Tribes call these trees the trees of life, as it provides construction materials, heat, food, oil and medications.
Few years ago this tree was headed for extinction, along with its precious goat-related oil. Increased demand for anti-ageing quality oil leads to encouraged careful grazing and stopped chopping for firewood by local population. In 1999 UNESCO declared Morocco region a reserve.
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