The argan tree, the argan oil tree grows only in the semi-desert regions of Morocco, from Safi in the North to the borders of the Sahara in the South, in the High Atlas.
Argan plantations are mainly grouped together in a huge forest called the argan grove. This forest has about 20 million argan trees spread over 830,000 hectares. The argan grove was classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. Biosphere reserve, it is delimited by the Temfit wadi and the Souss wadi which flows into the Atlantic in the region of Agadir.
These 2 rivers drain the mountains of the Anti-Atlas and the High Atlas. The argan tree is so resistant that it grows up to an altitude of 1500m.
This region is mainly populated by Berber tribes, descendants of the Almohads who were the masters in the Middle Ages of an empire including the Maghreb and all of Muslim Spain.
The fruit, the argan, is oval in shape and measures approximately 3 cm. When ripe, it is yellow-brown and contains a very hard nut containing an “almond”. A tree produces about 8 kg per year. The dark green leaves are eaten by camels. In southern Morocco, it is common to see goats hoisted on the branches of the argan tree because they feed on young shoots and its fruit, leaving the stone it contains.
For the Berbers, the argan tree is the tree “blessed by the Gods” because argan oil is for them a real “green gold” with many food and cosmetic properties. Don’t we call it, moreover, the oil with 100 Virtues.
Just like tea, argan oil accompanied by honey is offered by the Berbers to the guests as a sign of hospitality.
For women, argan oil or also called argan oil is also the source of a real beauty elixir.
Moreover, the word elixir comes from the Arabic al-iksir , which means remedy in this language.
Moroccan treatments with argan oil
›Apply a drop of oil every evening to the perfectly cleansed face and neck.
›Do not use argan oil for day care (burns in the sun).
›Rub gently on the pain area.
›To prevent skin dryness, coat your body 45 minutes before taking a bath or shower.
›To stimulate areas of the body that are tired or losing elasticity, spread a few drops and massage gently to make it penetrate, until the skin regains its softness and suppleness.
›To strengthen soft and brittle nails, wash them better then soak the nails in a mixture of lemon juice and argan oil in equal parts for 15 minutes, once a week.
›Argan oil is used in Morocco for its healing properties in the treatment of chickenpox and juvenile acne by gently massaging the affected areas.
›To restore vigor to tired hair, you can massage your hair with a little oil 30 minutes before shampooing, over the entire length of the hair. Then wash and rinse.
›To protect your hair from dehydration, after a bath in the sea or in a chlorinated swimming pool, you can use a few drops of styling oil, brushing the hair, provided you do not then expose yourself to the sun.
Food argan oil
With its nutty taste, edible argan oil is very popular in cooking to enhance the flavor of fish dishes, couscous, tagines or dressings. Mixed with toasted almonds and honey, it becomes amlou, the equivalent of peanut butter, which is a delicious accompaniment to toast for breakfast.
Edible argan oil contains about 80% unsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, but has an advantage over it due to its richness in essential fatty acids (linoleic acid 34%) which give it dietary nutritional values.
Recent scientific studies seem to show that it also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and that the linoleic acid it contains is crucial in the prevention of myocardial infarction, in the reduction of cholesterol levels and in the participation in brain development. It also aids digestion by increasing the concentration of pepsin in the digestive juice. Finally, it seems to have a positive effect on the functioning of the liver and acts as an appetite suppressant for people suffering from bulimia.