Saturday, 30 May 2015

Argan Oil Uses ❧

Sold as a luxury item, argan oil was once difficult to purchase outside of Morocco. In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of animal feed, timber and fuel. Due to the increasing interest to cosmetic companies, it has also become a fashionable product in Europe and North America over the past decade and is now widely available in specialty shops and supermarkets.

The argan tree, which is unique to Morocco, can grow up to 10 meters high and live up to 200 years. The trees are thorny, with gnarled trunks and small oval leaves up to 4 cm long. The trees blossom in April, with small flowers of five pale yellow-green petals . The fruit, containing one to three oil-rich seeds, is broad with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling (but unpleasantly flavored) layer of pulp surrounding the very hard nut. The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in June to July of the following year. The trees are frequently climbed by goats, so until harvesting of the fruit, goats are kept out of the argan woodlands by wardens.

Forests of argan trees have decreased by about half during the last 100 years, owing to charcoal-making, grazing, and increasingly intensive cultivation, now covering some 8,280 km² and designated as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Biosphere reserve. A thriving export market for argan oil as a high-value product may be the best hope for conservation.

production of argan oil
Extraction of argan oil is produced by several women's co-operatives in a labour-intensive process by which the soft pulp is removed then used as feed for the animals. The seeds are then removed and cracked by hand between two stones with a little water and gently roasted (accounting for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavor) to make a paste. The paste is then squeezed by hand to extract the oil. Oil can be stored and used for up to 6 months, and produced as needed, from a store of seeds which will keep for 20 years.

Production of argan oil is beginning to have noticeable environmental and social impacts. Argan oil production means that argan trees are now seen as a valuable resource, leading to their preservation with an impact on the environment. Argan oil production has provided a steady income for many women and their families and improved the social status of some women. The gaining popularity has prompted the Moroccan government to plan for increased production, from approximately 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.

Argan oil is rich with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E and fatty acids (80% unsaturated fatty acids).

Traditionally argan oil is used to treat skin diseases, and as a natural cosmetic oil for skin and hair. It is advocated as moisturizing oil against wrinkled or scaly dry skin, and acne, as well as fortifying the hair. This oil also has medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns. It is sometimes mixed with pomegranate seed oil due to its anti-oxidizing benefits.

Hair Conditioner - Argan oil contains high quantities of vitamin E and antioxidants and is non-irritating, making it extremely beneficial for hair and scalp, reversing much of the damage done by artificial chemicals and treatments and giving your hair a healthy shine. Unlike many styling agents, which can cause long term damage to hair due to the chemical ingredients, argan oil enriches hair and repairs damage.

Argan oil absorbs easily without leaving any greasy residue, making it a great leave-in conditioner or treatment and can also be used before straightening, protecting hair against heat damage. Rub a few drops of argan oil over your palms and then comb your fingers through damp or towel-dried hair, massaging into the scalp, as a treatment to combat frizzy hair, dandruff and dry scalp. Blow-dry and style.

Argan oil can also be used as on overnight treatment (to absorb as many nutrients as possible), adding volume and shine. Using a liberal amount, massage into your scalp and hair (especially the ends) and wrap your hair in a towel to prevent staining your pillow. Wash hair the next morning or after a few hours and style.

Use argan oil as a styling agent on dry hair as well. Apply a few drops and comb through your hair with your fingers, ensuring even distribution.

Vitamin E enriched argon oil also helps boost cells promoting growth of healthy, strong hair as opposed to thin, brittle hair.

Skin Moisturizer - Due to its absorption rate without leaving any greasy residue, argon oil is great for skin. Use as an overall body moisturizer and cuticle softener, or add a few drops into your bath. The vitamin E will help minimize stretch marks.

Massage a few drops on your face and neck at night, or in the morning after cleansing. Can also add a drop or two of argan oil to your foundation or tinted moisturizer for a dewy glow.

Argan oil will not irritate eyes and therefore, can also be used as a safe and effective makeup remover.

To treat cracked heels, massage a good amount onto the feet and cover with socks.

Acne, Fine Lines and Wrinkles - Argan oil is an alternative solution to chemical based products, for skin problems such as acne and aging skin. When used on a regular basis, your skin is healthier and mild acne will fade away. Argan oil is rich in natural healing properties such as antioxidants, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. Vitamin E is the primary antioxidant helping to prevent cell oxidation and keeping oils in the skin naturally balanced, while decreasing skin inflammation. Linoleic acid promotes healthy skin cell turnover, preventing clogged hair follicles and excess dead skin cells.

If you have dry skin, argan oil helps by producing more natural oils that won’t clog your pores, while on the flip side, oleic acid in argan oil can help keep excess sebum at bay in oily skin types.

  • Wash the affected area with a gentle natural cleanser. (Avoid products with cleansing beads that can exacerbate acne.)
  • Pat dry until skin is damp. (Excessive rubbing can irritate acne, stripping away natural oils.)
  • Apply one to two drops of argan oil (use in lieu of conventional moisturizer), massaging into the affected area, with moderate pressure, massage the areas that exhibit wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Keep the argan oil on face and other treatment areas for a couple of minutes for the skin to absorb it and follow up with your usual skin care routine.
  • Repeat this process twice daily.

The anti-oxidants and vitamin E in the argan oil will protect the skin against free radicals, resulting in fresher, clearer skin as well as improving elasticity and cell strength of facial skin. Since argan oil regulates the production of sebum, which causes acne, it reduces further breakouts. The vitamin E present in the oil contains anti-oxidants that help remove damaged cells and help new ones grow, therefore fading acne scars.

Culinary Argan Oil - Argan food oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous and salads. Results showed that—as with olive oil and some other vegetable oils—regular intake of argan oil instead of butter reduced harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.

A dip for bread known as amlou is made from argan oil, almonds and peanuts, sometimes sweetened by honey or sugar. Amlou, a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter, is produced by grinding roasted almond and argan oil using stones, mixed with honey and is used locally as a bread dip.

Various claims about the beneficial effects on health due to the consumption of argan oil have been made. Researchers have concluded that daily consumption of argan oil is "highly likely" to be one factor that helps prevent various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

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