Argan – What is argan oil?
Argan oil is produced from the nuts of the argan tree (Argania Spinosa L.), which is unique to the Kingdom of Morocco. There, in addition to cosmetic purposes, it is used as an addition to various dishes – salads, couscous, pasta and more. Production Production is by traditional methods. The fruit of the tree is small and round or oval. The nut is surrounded by a hard shell, which represents about 25% of the weight of fresh fruit. Contains one to three nuts from which argan oil is extracted. To extract it, women first dry the argan fruits outdoors. Then bake them and crush in a special dish of meat. It is then squeezed, thus extracting the oil. The process is extremely authentic and preserved. Moroccans usually use meat porridge and leftovers for animal feed. Attempts to mechanize this process have been unsuccessful over the years, so workers still do it by hand, making it a lengthy and difficult process. Berber women are most often engaged in this difficult task. Argan oil for cosmetic purposes is produced by almost identical methods, but the nuts are not baked to avoid the strong aroma. The poured oil is left to stand for about two weeks, so that the solid particles suspended in argan oil remain at the bottom, creating a natural sediment. It is then further filtered depending on the required purity, and may contain some small sediments. This is a natural part of the production process that does not affect the quality and aroma. Composition Argan oil has a relative density at 20 ° C (68 ° F) in the range of 0.906 to 0.919. Contains tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene and fatty acids (80% unsaturated fatty acids). The main natural phenols in argan oil are caffeic acid, vanilla acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (-) -epicatechin and (+) – catechin. Depending on the extraction method, argan oil may be more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. Culinary use In cooking, argan oil (for consumption) is used to flavor couscous, salads and more. Amlow is a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter and is obtained by grinding roasted almonds mixed with argan oil and honey – spread on bread is a typical breakfast in Morocco. Various studies prove its beneficial effects on health. According to researchers, regular use of argan oil helps prevent various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Cosmetics Moroccans traditionally use argan oil to treat skin conditions, as well as to maintain healthy skin and hair. In cosmetics, it is recommended for hydration, against acne and flaking of the skin, as well as for nourishing the hair. It can be used for rheumatism and soothes the skin with sunburn. Impact on nature Argan tree provides food, shelter, protection in the desert and prevents soil erosion. The irreplaceable qualities of argan and argan oil help to take the initiative to ban the felling of trees and 2009. launches operation to plant 4,300 argan plants in Essaouira province. In 2002 The RARBA Argan Biosphere Reserve Association was established in order to ensure the development of argan trees. RARBA is involved in several major projects, including the National Program to Combat Desertification. The project includes support to the local population, construction of basic infrastructure, management of natural resources, income-generating activities (including argan oil production) and others. Social benefits The production of argan oil from argan has always had a socio-economic function. It currently supports about 2.2 million people. Much of it is produced by several women's cooperatives, which are co-sponsored by the Agency for Social Development and with the support of the European Union. The Femmes de l'Arganeraie is the largest union for the production of argan oil in Morocco. The association consists of 22 cooperatives, which are located in other parts of the region (for example, Al Amal Cooperative, Amalou N'Touyag Cooperative, Tissaliwine Cooperative, etc.). Women's employment helps many of them fund education for themselves and their children. It also gives them some autonomy in a society that is traditionally male-dominated, helping them to be more aware of their rights. The success of cooperatives also encourages other agricultural producers to adopt the cooperative model. Their creation has attracted much public attention and support – the Mohammed VI Foundation studies and defends the argan tree, international organizations, the International Research Center of Canada and the European Commission. The growing popularity of argan oil prompted the government of the Kingdom of Morocco to plan to increase production. The goal is to increase the annual production by about 2500 tons. at 4000 tons. until 2020