The Argan tree is believed to have originated in a village named Argana, which lay to the north east of the Moroccan city of Agadir. The Argan tree grows wild in the south-western region of Morocco, where these trees laden with fleshy fruits are the favorite target of native goats. Often the goats eat the fruit, leaving behind a hard nut. This Argan tree nut contains kernels, which are the source of the beauty serum Argan Oil.
Moroccans have been using Argan oil as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner since ancient times. Phoenicians in as early as 1550 B.C. have recorded the use of Argan Oil by locals to heal and beautify their bodies. In 1510 African explorer Leo Africanus came across the Argan Oil when he was traveling across Morocco. From there, the oil entered Europe where only the rich and wealthy class had access to this expensive, rare and exotic oil.
Today, even after 3,500 years, the Berber women of Southern Morocco are known for their exotic beauty. And their secret is applying this precious golden oil regularly to their faces, nails, hair and body.
Their legendary beauty attracted scientists to the “rare oil” that these women have used as a cosmetic for centuries. Testing this oil, scientists discovered that it is full of rich antioxidants, rejuvenating Vitamin E and other agents that add glow, youth and beauty to hair and nails.
This age-defying natural serum has now become an international sensation. It is especially popular with women who prefer using natural and organic substances on their skin instead of artificial chemicals. Once the world heard of the all-round benefits of Argan Oil, many of these Moroccan women formed co-operatives to hand-produce Argan Oil and export it around the world.
Although native to the region, the Argan tree has been struggling to survive. Due to its diminishing numbers and various ecological problems, the Argan tree has been placed under the protection of UNESCO. This UNESCO biosphere designation has limited the supply of Argan Oil, making it one of the rarest and most expensive oils in the world.
UNESCO has protected the Argan tree under its Man and Biosphere Program. This Biosphere program aims to conserve the ecosystem, protect Argan trees against human exploitation and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
The Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve stretches across 2,560,000 hectares of land from the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The Souss- Massa National Park lies at the core of this region.
The over 2 million inhabitants of this area, including nearly 1 million in the town of Agadir, rely on the Argan tree for ecological benefits, medicine, food, shelter and sustenance. They are now funded and trained by local government and international authorities to produce Argan Oil under cooperatives and preserve the natural resources in the region simultaneously.
Argan Tree’s Ecological Impact
Around the world, the Argan tree is famous for its many healing and nutritious benefits. But in its native region of Morocco, the Argan serves many other critical functions too, such as providing food, shelter and livelihood.
It is also crucial for the ecological balance of the region. The tree’s deep roots have been able to stave off the approaching and expanding Sahara desert. Its roots have also lent stability to the landscape against the vicious winds and the accompanying soil erosion that is endemic to the region.
The Argan tree has helped replenish the region’s aquifers, thereby spurring agricultural productivity in this harsh climate. The Argan canopy gives shade for other vegetables and shrubs to grow, and its leaves and fruits are fodder for local animals. As you can see, the Argan tree’s impact is far-reaching and it forms a vital part of the ecosystem of the Morocco.
While the Argan had been moving towards extinction from being cut down excessively, the popularity of Argan Oil around the region has actually helped bring the Argan tree’s ecological importance to broader public attention.
Today, worldwide support has poured into efforts for regenerating the Arganeraie. For instance, more than 4,300 Argan plants were sowed recently in Meskala in the Moroccan province of Essaouira.
UNESCO and other international organizations like the European Commission too have set their sights on providing greater economic and consultative support to the region, so that this one-of-a-kind natural resource that is unique to this region can be preserved and cultivated for environmental and economic success.
And of course, there is the support from all customers around the world who buy Argan Oil. Each authentic organic Argan Oil product you buy helps to sustain and conserve the natural resources in this area, provide better opportunities to Berber women and helps them care for the multi-utility Argan trees around them.