Argan oil comes from the nuts of the fruits of Argan Trees, native to the south-western region of Morocco, Africa, at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
For over 3,500 years Argan Oil has been used as a cosmetic, for cooking and for medicinal purposes by the locals in Morocco. Also known as Moroccan oil, Argan Oil is much-coveted in the West today as a beauty product.
Argan oil has innumerable beauty and cosmetic benefits, such as fighting aging, combating dry skin and increasing skin moisture. It even lessens scars and appearances of acne, burns and stretch marks. Its powerful blend of Vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids keeps the skin looking fresh and young.
Argan Oil Production in Morocco
Argan trees live for about 15-200 years and grow up to be nearly 30 meters in height. Around the 30 or 50 year mark, the trees start producing fruit. The trees yield fruit once a year and one tree will usually yield 1 liter of Argan Oil. One liter of oil takes 10 to 12 hours of manual work to make!
The production of 100% organic Argan Oil is a complex, labor intensive process. The Argan fruit is harvested and the peel and the pulp are discarded. What is left is a hard-shelled, oval nut which is cracked by hand. The emerging kernels are ground into a paste from which oil is cold pressed. The freshly extracted oil may be left to sit for 2 to 3 weeks after which clear oil is poured into dark bottles and exported around the world.
This harvesting and cold pressing is done by local women from the Berber tribe of Morocco who are organized into co-operatives. Fair-trade Argan Oil provides Berber women with a stable source of income, financial independence and better opportunities for education, health and personal development.
With the upsurge in Argan Oil demand, many international bodies like the UN and even the Moroccan government have started reforestation programs in the region. Many of the women’s co-operatives are actively engaged in preserving and cultivating Argan trees around them. This helps maintain environmental balance and also holds off the advance of the Sahara Desert into the region as Argan tree roots anchor deep in the soil and help prevent soil erosion.
The Argan tree also supports livestock and animals of the region, providing shade and leaves to graze on and also provide drinking water by replenishing the aquifers in the land.
More than two million people rely on Argan trees for economic sustenance and the Argan Oil trade has reformed the entire region by providing access to a stable income.