The Argan Tree (Argania spinosa), also known as Morocco Ironwood, is quite a thorny evergreen tree that grows up to 10m high. The trees can cope with low rainfall. It has the ability to be dormant in drier times and will regenerate when the rains come again.
Argan trees manage to live for as much as 250 years. They have long, questing root systems that go deep into the thin soil in search of the water table. The depth of the root system means the trees are firmly anchored to the ground and resistant to strong winds, which in turn protects the soil from erosion. Small leaves and tough stems help to reduce water loss caused by excessive transpiration.
The fruit of the argan trees takes over a year to mature. A thick, bitter peel covers the fleshy pulp and the hard nut in the center contains two or three oil-rich seeds. The Berber women have known the value of the argan tree for centuries.
Once the fruit has been collected, the soft pulp is removed by hand. The pulp is used as animal feed. The hard nuts are then cracked between two stones by hand and the seeds removed. The argan kernels are then cold pressed in a stainless-steel press and decanted. After 1-2 weeks the oil is filtered to produce a clear and bright top-quality product.
Argan oil has been a component of Berber folk medicine for centuries, it is produced from nuts rising from an Argan tree that grows only in Morocco, North Africa. Argan oil is extracted in a natural way in cooperatives run by local Amazigh women (natives). The raw Argan kernels are hand-extracted from the hard shell through a technique used for centuries. They hand crack Argan shell nuts in between two stones. To produce just one liter of Argan oils a woman needs to work three days. Argan oil is packed with healing antioxidants, fatty acids, minerals and the vitamins A and E. This light, non-greasy oil is the perfect multi-purpose beauty elixir for hair, skin and nails. And taken internally it’s a powerful health tonic.
Here are some of the many ways in which the tree has been used by traditionally by the nomadic Berber tribes and other locals:
There is a high amount of vitamin E which helps to reduce the free radical damage by restoring the skin’s hydro-lipid layer. . These damages are usually caused when the skin is exposed to harmful sun rays.
If you have problems with joint pain or for scar reduction, a daily massage with Argan oil can help too much. It can also function as a disinfectant because Argan contains anti-inflammatory properties. Argan oil can help people suffering with arthritis or rheumatic problems.
It also fights cholesterol by absorbing it. More than this, it makes the body immune and it enhances blood circulation.
If you have a problem of digestion, Argan oil as increases the concentration of enzyme pepsin in the gastric juice.
If you are having weak and brittle nails, you can just apply a regular massage of Argan oil. It contains vitamin E which strengthens the nails and softens the cuticles.
Pure Argan oil used internally has been shown to fight cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders. When applied externally, it cures everything from scars to infections to split ends to stretch marks.