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Argan (Argania spinosa)

Argan is a genus of flowering plants containing the sole species Argania spinosa, known as argan, a tree endemic to the calcareous semidesert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco.

The scientific name argania is derived from argan, the name of the tree in Shilha, the Berber language which is spoken by the majority of the people living in the areas where the tree is endemic.

In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of forage, oil, timber, and fuel in Berber society. Especially near Essaouira, the argan tree is frequently climbed by goats. Argan fruit falls in July, when black and dry.

Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco.

Argan oil is produced by several women's co-operatives in the southwestern parts of Morocco. The most labor-intensive part of oil-extraction is removal of the soft pulp (used to feed animals) and the cracking by hand, between two stones, of the hard nut. The seeds are then removed and gently roasted. This roasting accounts for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavor.

The traditional technique for oil extraction is to grind the roasted seeds to paste, with a little water, in a stone rotary quern. The paste is then squeezed by hand to extract the oil. The extracted paste is still oil-rich and is used as animal feed. Oil produced this way can be stored and used for 3–6 months, and will be produced as needed in a family, from a store of the kernels, which will keep for 20 years unopened. Dry-pressing is becoming increasingly important for oil produced for sale, as this method allows for faster extraction, and the oil produced can be used for 12–18 months after extraction.

 Argan oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous, salads, and similar uses. A dip for bread known as amlou is made from argan oil, almonds, and peanuts, sometimes sweetened by honey or sugar. The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has become favoured by European cosmetics manufacturers.

The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, is rich in tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene, and essential fatty acids, and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. The main natural phenols in argan oil are caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, epicatechin and catechin. Moroccans traditionally use un-roasted Argan oil to treat skin diseases, and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair.

Argan oil contains, 46% Oleic acid, 32% Linoleic acid, 12% Palmitic acid and 6% Stearidonic acid.

Find Organic Argan Oil in the following BVO Products.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.