Argan is a tree also known as "argania spinosa" which is cultivated mainly in Morocco. The word argan means "oil" and it is precisely the argan oil that has led this plant to be very well known all over the world especially for the cosmetic use that is made of it.
In Morocco this tree is also revered as a symbol of life, given its longevity and the oldest tree is a destination of pilgrimage and annual celebrations with traditional dances and songs. Argan tea and oil are offered by visitors to visitors as a sign of hospitality.
The argan tree is characterized by the thorny branches, because of its height, in fact it can even reach 10 meters and due to its broad and thick foliage, the trunk is instead knotty and often seems to be the set of several trunks tangled together. The resulting wood is hard therefore difficult to work and used above all to burn. In reality it is the fruit that is the essential purpose of cultivation and not wood. The flowers appear on the tree in the period between May and June and have a variety of colors from white to green, then the fruit is formed which, when ripe, takes on a yellow color, inside the fruit that is almost reminiscent of a lemon. the appearance, there are the pits. Each fruit contains from one to three stones, but the production per tree compared to the size of the tree is small and in fact on average a tree produces 8 kilos of stones in a year. The fruit is picked directly from the ground after the fall. Precisely for this reason argan oil is a precious and difficult product to find in its pure form.
The argan tree producers also get nourishment for goats and camels which are greedy of dark green leaves. It is not difficult to find goats climbing on argan trees.
ARGAN OIL EXTRACTION PROCEDURE
The procedure for extracting argan oil is similar for food use and cosmetic use, but for food use the seeds must be roasted.
The first thing to do is to eliminate the fruit to get the stone, once the stone has been obtained it must in turn be opened to obtain almonds. These must then be worked to extract the oil. The mechanism is two, a particularly laborious and traditional one carried out by Berber women through manual rubbing to which, however, water must be added. By adding water the argan oil can be kept for a short time and it is precisely for this reason that the populations were used to working a few stones at a time, then preserving the fruits throughout the year. The mechanical method was introduced in the 2000s. Numerous are the advantages also the terms of yield and conservation, it is also shown that the chemical characteristics of the extract are not altered. Processing residues are used to feed the animals.
USES IN COSMETICS AND MEDICINE.
Argan oil is indeed a precious ally for beauty, but above all it is natural and this helps to prevent allergies or anyway to avoid the negative effects linked to the use of oil derivatives that are usually contained in cosmetics.
The cosmetic use of argan oil has developed in recent years precisely because the new extraction method makes the product more commercial and therefore the price easily bearable while continuing to remain a valuable product, in fact with 100 kg of seeds, few are obtained liters of oil and remember that each tree has a small amount of fruit per year.
Argan oil has high moisturizing, elasticizing, emollient and nourishing properties, which is why it is used in creams and particularly suitable as a nourishment for dry and damaged arid hair, it also helps protect the scalp from hated dandruff. It is also an excellent nail enhancer. It is difficult to find pure argan oil, it is often placed in small quantities in commercial products sold on a large scale, especially with regard to anti-aging products which are easier to absorb in cream formulations. Used as well, it also helps to prevent stretch marks in a completely natural way thanks to its moisturizing power and the ability to regenerate the skin. Argan oil is also an excellent antimicrobial and promotes healing from scars due to sunburn, but it is also used to help the healing of decupitated sores and, thanks to its moisturizing properties, it also benefits in treating psoriasis symptoms.
Argan: FOOD USE
Argan oil for food use in Italy is less known than the cosmetic one and therefore it is also difficult to find on the market.
Compared to oil for cosmetic use it is darker due to roasting, it is rich in vitamin E and A, linoleic acid, omega 3 and omega 6. Like other oils it is used for seasoning, especially on fish and cous cous. It has protective properties for the cardiovascular system, benefits rheumatic problems, promotes digestive processes and helps the liver. Its properties against cholesterol are also excellent, helping to regulate the levels of bad cholesterol. Argan oil is also used to prepare a cream with honey and almonds, considered as aphrodisiac. Many studies have also identified a correlation between the use of food argan oil and neoplasms, in fact it seems to be a powerful anticancer agent especially for prostate, breast, endometrium and colon.