Arganoil is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, native to Morocco, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. The tree, a relict species from the Tertiary age, is extremely well adapted to drought and other environmentally difficult conditions of southwestern Morocco.
Methods for extraction
Argan oil remains one of the rarest oils in the world due the small and very specific growing areas. Argan is also produced from argan orchards in Israel, in the Arava and Negev. At th eCooperative in Tiout, Berber women sit on the floor with rough rectangular stones between their knees cracking pits with rounded rocks. Each smooth pit contains one to three kernels, which look like sliced almonds and are rich inoil. The kernels are then removed and gently roasted. This roasting accounts for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavor. It takes several days and about 32 kilograms of fruit - roughly one season's produce from a single tree -to make only one liter of oil.
Now increasingly important for oil produced for sale, as the oil will keep 12?18 months and extraction is much faster. Using mechanical presses, mixing of the dough and water is unnecessary and the dough can be directly pressed. All other steps remaining unchanged, the oil is obtained in about 43% yield (calculated from the kernels) and only two hours are needed to get one litre of oil that preserves correctly. Argan oil is exceptionally rich in natural tocopherols (vitamin E), rich in phenols and phenolic acid, rich in carotenes, rich in squalene,rich in essential fatty acids, 80% unsaturated fatty acids and depending on extraction method more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.
The cosmetic oil, rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, is used for massage, facials and as an ingredient in anti-aging cream. The edible oil is extracted from roasted kernels.
Argan oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous,salads and similar uses. The residue from traditional oil extraction is a thick chocolate-colored paste called "amlou" which is sweetened and served as a dip for bread at breakfast time. It has a flavor similar to that of peanut butter.
The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has found favor with the cosmetics industry. An Irish sufferer of the skin condition Psoriasis claims that Argan oil has helped greatly in clearing up the physical manifestation of the condition. Many companies in the health and beauty industry are finding argan oil to be a "miracle oil." It has numerous therapeutic and cosmetic benefits not found in other natural oils. Argan oil moisturizes and revitalizes both skin and hair, reduces wrinkles, strengthens fingernails and reduces skin inflammation and dryness. Argan oil has been found to defend against aging and free radicals- it is particularly effective against cell degeneration.
All argan sold today is produced by a women's cooperative that shares the profits among the local women of the Berber tribe.The cooperative has established an ecosystem reforestation project so that the supply of argan oil will not run out and the income that is currently supporting the women will not disappear. The money is providing healthcare and education to the local women, and supporting the entire community as a whole.