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Family of Sapotacées, its vernacular names are the shaft of iron, ' The Olivier of Morocco ', Argane ( in Berber ) and the argan tree.

The argan tree, Argania spinosa L., is a tree specifically Moroccan. Its geographical area covers 800 000 hectares in the greater region of Essaouira-Agadir.
The argan tree, thorny, always green, reaching a height of 6 to 10 meters is perfectly adapted to the aridity.
The leaves are small, lanceolate, persistent and tough. Flowering occurs in the spring or in the fall depending on climatic conditions. The hermaphrodite flowers have a color greenish-yellow. The fruit is a drupe ovoid green. The maturation takes place from May to September.
Thanks to its powerful system roots, he maintains the soils in maintaining their fertility, protecting erosions of water and wind turbine that threaten to desertification a good part of Morocco.
All parties are used, the wood for the heating, the leaves and nuts for the goats.
The argan tree day a very important role for the fight against desertification.


Unfortunately, the argan is a Threatened species: it cleared for intensive agriculture and the recovery of wood for heating. A dahir (decree) dated 1925, protects the argan forest by asking the principle of the right top of the State on the forest of argans, but the usufruct (fruit, pastures, wood) is left to the local population.
As a result of a overfishing that has put the forest in danger, the argan forest has been classified a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
In 1999, UNESCO has recognized and classified the argan tree as world heritage.

Obtaining the oil

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Argan oil is produced by several women's co-operatives in the southwestern parts of Morocco. The most labour-intensive part of oil-extraction is removal of the soft pulp (used to feed animals) and the cracking by hand, between two stones, of the hard nut. The seeds are then removed and gently roasted. This roasting accounts for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavour.

The traditional technique for oil extraction is to grind the roasted seeds to paste, with a little water, in a stone rotary quern. The paste is then squeezed by hand in order to extract the oil. The extracted paste is still oil-rich and is used as animal feed. Oil produced this way can be stored and used for 3–6 months, and will be produced as needed in a family, from a store of the kernels, which will keep for 20 years unopened. Dry-pressing is becoming increasingly important for oil produced for sale, as this method allows for faster extraction, and the oil produced can be used for 12–18 months after extraction.[

The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, is rich in essential fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. Argan oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous, salads and similar uses. A dip for bread known as amlou is made from argan oil, almonds and honey.. The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has become favoured by European cosmetics manufacturers

Argan oil has been used since ancient times in traditional medicine.

Its composition gives it exceptional virtues. 

Followers of alternative medicine, natural remedies, scientific studies have shown that Argan oil revitalises the skin, allows the permeability of the skin, retards cellular aging and loss of skin elasticity. Argan oil reduces bad cholesterol in the plasma body by preventing its deposition in the arteries and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Where does all its virtues? 

The secret of this oil is in its high oleic acid - linoleic (45%) fatty acid that gives argan oil nutritional values and dietary certain, and justifies its use for cardiovascular disease, the withering and the physiological aging of the skin.

 

Composition :

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- Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated) 35%
- Oleic acid (monounsaturated) 45%
- 73 mg/100 tocopherols (vitamin E)
- Carotene 300 mg/100g
- Sterols 140 mg/100 g