People in some regions of Morocco use argan as a substitute for olive - especially members of the Berber society use the tree as a source of oil, forage, timber as well as fuel. Interestingly, in the region near Essaouira, goats often climb the argan tree to feed on its leaves and fruits. Argan oil is obtained by pressing the kernels of argan. This oil is only indigenous to the south-western region of Morocco. Argan oil is said to be hydrating oil that encloses essential fatty acids, counting omega oils oleic acid and linoleic acid, and tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), a very potent antioxidant. The elements contained by argan oil work to soften the skin, attract moisture as well as keep the skin hydrated. In addition, this oil also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory attributes. In fact, argan oil is used in a number of cosmetics as well as personal care products in the form of an emollient. It is a common ingredient of many facial moisturizers, lipsticks, sunscreens, eye creams, mascaras and blush. You can also use argan oil individually to treat acne, scars, keep the skin wrinkle-free, as a moisturizer to hydrate the face and body and also in the form of a cuticle moisturizer. In addition, it can be used for anti-frizz hair therapy and treat stretch marks. Argan can be used internally as well as externally. This herb offers multiple health benefits and is used to treat a number of health conditions, including skincare, cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure (hypertension). Argan oil is used widely for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory as well as cholesterol lowering properties. The oil is obtained from the argan seed kernel. Before extracting the oil, argan seeds are roasted with a view to get rid of saponins contained by them. Argan nut has an extremely bitter flavour, but the purified oil is sweet to taste, much like walnut oil. Argan oil is often used to add essence to various foods. In addition, this oil also has use in soap manufacturing and is used to manufacture a hard yellow-hued soap. This oil is used in various foods, employed for therapeutic purposes and also used in the form of an ingredient in cosmetics and skin care products. The roasted and ground kernels of argan are also used as fodder for cattle after pressing them to make cakes when the oil has been extracted from them. In fact, goats as well as other livestock eat the leaves and fruits of this tree.
Apart from therapeutic uses, argan oil is also used for culinary purposes. This vegetable oil is widely used as an ingredient in couscous and tajines. Recently, top chefs introduced argan oil to European cuisine and currently it is employed as the base for several different types of seasonings. In addition, argan oil can also be used in fish and meat preparations. In Morocco, people often serve argan oil together with honey to their guests. In fact, they use this oil as a symbol of hospitality, just as people in other regions offer tea to their guests.
The argan tree is native to south-western regions of Morocco and likes to grow in full sunlight. It is very drought resilient. In addition, the tree can adjust very well to extreme heat as well as inferior quality soils. These trees can thrive even with very little water - surviving on just an annual rainfall of 4 inches to 12 inches. Moreover, argan trees possess the aptitude to grow in an assortment of soil conditions, including soils having very poor nutrient content. They can flourish even in warm and partially dry conditions. Argan trees are propagated by their seeds, which takes a long time to germinate. In fact, these seeds can also prove to be difficult to sprout. As the coating of argan seeds is very tough, they need to be soaked in warm water for some time before they are sown. Ideally, they should be soaked in room temperature in water having a temperature of anything between 90�F and 100�F for about two to four days before sowing. Some growers advise that you soak the argan seeds in moist towels kept warm at room temperature. They claim that this will help to germinate the seeds with less difficulty. Alternatively, you can also sow the argan seeds in small pots or containers in moist and well-drained soils at a depth of about 1 inch. If you are germinating the seeds in this technique, ensure that the soil in the container is watered regularly. However, be careful not to water the soil excessively so that it becomes soggy. Usually, it may take anything between many weeks to some months for the argan seeds to germinate.