October 14, 2019
A Look At Argan Oil
By Michael D. Shaw
Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels, a tree that grows primarily in southern Morocco. Used as a moisturizer and hair conditioner since 600 BC, the Phoenicians recorded the use of argan oil in their beauty routines. Argan is considered a cold-pressed vegetable oil, and is similar to olive oil in biochemical properties, but contains more linoleic acid and Tocopherol.
As with other vegetable oils, a measure of quality is the acid value, which refers to the amount of free fatty acids per 100 grams of the oil, expressed as a percent. The lower this number is, the better, and the “extra-virgin” designation requires that it be less than 0.8%. Anything higher than 2.5% is considered unfit for human consumption, and is called “lampante.”
While argan is quite popular now, according to a review article “Until the 1980’s, argan oil was, at best, considered as a tourist attraction sold in recycled plastic bottles along the dusty Moroccan roads.” The same reference traces argan’s current popularity to government involvement in protecting and enhancing the cultivation of the tree and in encouraging the marketing of the oil for economic development.
Now, let’s get into some of those health benefits (Hat Tip healthline.com)…
1. If ingested, argan oil is a good source of linoleic acid and other healthy fat oleic acid, along with Vitamin E (antioxidant/anti-inflammatory).
2. Effects against diabetes–so far demonstrated only in animal studies.
3. Effects against cancer–in vitro studies. Ref 1; Ref 2.
4. Effects against skin aging.
Many other health benefits are touted and may well be valid, but might lack published scientific validation. However, if a regimen works for you, then go for it!
The processing of argan oil is part of Berber culture, and is now empowering women via a network of cooperatives. Imagine! People at the grassroots level of a luxury product are also deriving wealth from it. More than that, the cooperatives have turned back deforestation and desertification.
If you do any research on argan oil, you will soon encounter Essence Of Argan, founded in 2011 with five liters of argan oil. These days, they are the world’s largest provider of eco-certified argan oil. The company’s products are certified by Ecocert. Essence of Argan tells me that they have direct family contacts to the argan cooperatives, giving them access to the purest oil available.
Given the sourcing, Essence of Argan states that it is the global leader regarding the amount of argan infused into its products. For example, the company claims that its healthcare products use six times more argan oil than the next leading competitor. They also challenge customers: Why would you put anything ON your body that you would not put IN your body? Thus, Essence of Argan offers culinary as well as personal care products.
The company told me about a new idea they call “Moroccan Beauty Box.” You choose your products, and they comprise your monthly box, shipped directly to you. Choose from the oils, cosmetics, skin care, and hair care products.
As Maribel Bantayan, Director Of Customer Satisfaction puts it:
The purity of the argan oil we source, cultivate, and sell explains the potency of the products we provide. We enjoy the eco-certification seal of approval, thanks to our commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical business practices in general. The quality that defines our brand–the efficacy that inspires people to celebrate our brand–reflects our reputation for excellence in delivering the best argan oil to consumers throughout the world.”