What is Moroccan Argan Oil?
What is in Argan Oil?
Argan tree fruits are almond nut sized and ovoid. Inside of a milky pulp, covered by a thick peel, there is a very hard shelled seed which is the Argan nut. The Argan nuts contain up to three oil rich white kernels from which Argan oil is extracted. No matter which method is used to press the Argan Oil and extract the pure oil the process always starts in the same way. The extracted pure Argan oil should contain nothing but the pressed Argan nut kernels.
The extracted oil contains a complex blend of nutrients and vitamins. A series of studies have now discovered the science between the effects of Argan Oil. This list shows of some of the important nutrients that make up Moroccan Argan Oil:
> Anti Oxidant Tocopherols – with twice the Vitamin E content of Olive oil.
> Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 6 and Omega 3 healthy fatty acids.
> Triterpenoids – which have an important role in cicatrisation
> Beta Amyrine – to stimulate cell growth
> Butyrospermol – a powerful anti inflammatory
> Lupeol – antiseptic
What is in the Different Types of Argan Oil
There are two types Argan oil, cosmetic and culinary. Both of these oils contain very similar nutrients and vitamins made purely from Argan nut kernels that have been cold-pressed. However, each type of oil is processed in a slightly different way.
Cosmetic Argan oil is a light yellow colour and is used either directly on the hair or skin on its own or as part of a cream. It is the Cosmetic oil that has been traditionally used for its anti ageing properties, on the hair, for treatment of sun damage to the skin, burns and skin problems such as Eczema.
The edible version, culinary Argan oil, is golden brown colour and is used for cooking and eating. To produce this oil the Argan nut kernels are first roasted. The oil produced from the Argan nuts has a golden brown colour and delicious nutty flavour.
How does the Extraction Method Affect Nutrient Content?
Traditionally, Argan Oil is extracted by women. After removing the covering the Argan nuts are broken with stones and the kernels are air-dried in clay containers. After cooling they are ground in to dough by mixing with water for several minutes. It takes several days and about 32 kilograms of fruit – roughly one season’s produce from a single tree – to make only one litre of oil.
This method of production is no longer in general use. The oil produced is lower in nutrients as a result of the higher water content and sediment residue. The vegetable fibre sediments and water content mean that oil produced this way has a shorter shelf life.
Modern cold pressed
To improve product quality the way in which the oil is extracted has been changing in recent years. The extra income the new found interest in Argan Oil has provided means that most co-operatives can now afford to buy modern mechanical presses to extract the Argan Oil by cold-pressing the nut kernels directly.
There are a number of advantages to using a mechanical press. A mechanical press is quicker at extracting the oil, a process that was also quite arduous. The Argan co-operatives have also found that the oil produced by the mechanical presses has a lower water content. This lower water content has meant that the oil has an improved shelf life and richer texture. The higher nutrient levels in cold pressed oil also give a longer shelf life.
Beware of Products that say “Containing” Argan Oil
It is the unique nutrient content of Argan Oil that gives the oil its famous benefits for hair and for skin care. If you want to buy pure Argan Oil always check the ingredients of any product very carefully to make sure they contain pure or even any Argan Oil.
Beware, of product labelling. There are many cheap products that are labelled “Moroccan Oil” or “contains” Argan oil. Olive oil also comes from Morocco and so could be called a Moroccan Oil. That is not to say that a product which uses the brand name of Moroccan Oil does not have Argan Oil in it or does not contain some Argan Oil but do check. The same problem exists in commercial supermarket products. Companies like Garnier, Nivea and others produce products for skin and hair using the name Argan Oil in big letters on the front of the packaging.
Always remember that it is only Pure Argan Oil that has the wonderful benefits for you hair and for skin care.
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