Origin of argan oil :
The tree of Argania, from the Latin word “Argania spinosa”, is a very ancient and hardy tree. It lives around 200 to 300 years. In Morocco, goats of locals love to eat its leaves and climb its branches. But at present, it is forbidden for goats to walk in the argan forest, as it negatively affects the quality of argan oil. It is rare case to see goats climbing the Argania tree nowadays. Local Berbers have been using this tree for centuries for the production of argan oil, as well as for the construction of substances like economical fuel.
This tree grows in the southwest of the Moroccan Kingdom exactly in the region of Souss. People from all over the world tried to cultivate it in many other places and areas but it didn’t bear fruits. And it is known that fruits are the most valuable thing in this mysterious tree. It is from the almonds of these fruits that people extract useful argan oil. The Moroccan government keeps the production of this golden oil under its control because it is actively exported and is the image of the Moroccan kingdom.
The production of argan oil remains very low in Morocco. That can be explained in two ways. First, the place of production of the Argania tree is limited. Second, the time required for this production is too long. It can take up to 30-40 years for the production of the fruit.
When you are in Marrakech, there are many agencies that offer camel rides in Morocco to visit the cooperatives of agran oil, they are about two hours riding to get there.
The steps of the extraction of argan oil :
The traditional process of argan oil extraction includes 6 steps:
Pulping: The pulping is done by women, it consists of a light crushing of the whole fruit against a stone that serves as a support, then the separation of the pulp from the nut is done manually.
Crushing : This is the most painful and tiring step in the oil extraction process. It is carried out between two stones, one serves as a support and the other as a hammer.
Roasting of the almonds: The almonds thus obtained from the crushing are put in a container generally made of terracotta (Taflounte), then they undergo heating with the help of soft fire. From time to time, the almonds are stirred so that they take on a brown tint. According to women, the purpose of this operation is to develop the color, smell, and taste of the oil to be extracted. If the fire is increased, the color of the oil becomes browner.
Crushing almonds in a millstone : The almonds roasted in this way are crushed using a stone grinder generally similar to the one used in the artisanal milling of cereals (Azerg). The extracted paste is accumulated in a pottery container for mixing.
Kneading of the dough: Mixing is done manually with the addition of a small amount of warm water to obtain a creamy paste (Tazguemmoute). However, this operation conditions the quality of the oil. Thus, a marked increase in water will cause the quality of the oil to decrease.
Pressing of the dough: The resulting dough is pressed by hand, releasing oil in the form of droplets and, of course, adding water.
The benifits of argan oil :
Today in Morocco, there are several cooperatives that sell and show the steps of the extraction of this golden oil. Also, they give information about its benefits and its use.
Argan oil has benefits on the skin, hair, and even the entire body. It contains several elements and substances that protect the skin and contribute to its whitening such as vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Argan oil softens the skin through vitamin E rich in antioxidants. This vitamin is essential to maintain the dynamism of the skin. Also, it nourishes the skin with all the elements necessary for its functioning and maintenance.
For pregnant women, argan oil brings many benefits to their health. In fact, it improves the elasticity of the skin and protects against stretch marks.
For very dry and rough hands, very dry feet with calluses, and cracked skin, it is recommended to make a cure of argan oil. by applying it by massage every evening before going to bed and if you can, at different times of the day. Your skin will then regain its softness and radiance. The result will be spectacular.
Argan oil also helps to reduce hair loss and allows better care of dry nails. Indeed, it helps to fight against alopecia by decreasing hair loss and it restores fragile and brittle nails.
If you are travelling to Morocco, there are many places where you can get pure agran oil. For instance, you can check the main city Essaouira, there are many cooperatives who offer it with good prices. Also, you can check Marrakech. However, it is better if you are there when they are actually making it infront of you.