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Morocco has huge tracts of forests that
contribute greatly to the country's economy. These forests are home to rare
trees, including the Argan tree that does not grow anywhere else in the world
except Morocco. Argan has been classified by UNESCO within the "global
human heritage" category. The Argan is a family of coniferous trees found
in the southern regions of Morocco. Argan trees are several hundred years old
and can be distinguished by a short trunk with dense branches. Argan trees are
the backbone of the pastoral and agricultural system in Morocco. They cover an
area of approximately 830,000 hectares in the semi-arid and arid regions of the
What makes the Argan tree unique is the oil it produces. Today, Argan oil is exported globally, used in cosmetics on salads and in Moroccan cuisine, and to treat diseases. Argan oil became famous after foreign company representatives visited Morocco and then discovered its wealth of benefits. This unique oil became a valuable product, which is described by some as "liquid gold" or "green gold."
The oil paste and the moist top husk of the Argan fruit are used as enriched fodder for livestock, while the hard husk of the seed is used to ignite fire instead of charcoal and firewood. The average price of Argan oil ranges from $100 to $300 US dollars per liter, making it the most expensive oil in the world. Argan trees provide a sustainable and economic advantage for living to the approximately 3.5 million people, who live in areas that contain Argan trees.
What are the health benefits of Argan Oil?
Argan oil has several health benefits. It is used to treat cholesterol, eczema, rheumatism and resists the appearance of wrinkles along with being used to fight colitis. Cosmetically Argan oil has several uses since it moisturizes and cleans the skin, nourishes the hair and scalp and stimulates the vital functions of skin cells, which contribute to resisting aging of the skin. Argan oil is also used to reduce the effects of acne, fire scars, and wounds.
How is Argan harvested?
Argan nuts are harvested similar to olive trees. A piece of cloth or plastic is placed under the Argan tree. The tree branches are shaken or beaten with long sticks. The nuts that fall on the ground are collected for processing.
How are the Argan fruits processed?
After harvesting, the moist outer shell of the Argan fruit is removed by beating it between two smooth stones. The husk is later used as livestock fodder. After peeling the skin from the Argan fruit, it is held by the fingers in a special position above a big stone based on the floor. The Argan fruit is then hit with a smooth stone causing the skin to split and the kernel is thrown out. This is done in a delicate manner as to extract the nucleus without crushing it. After this stage comes to the sorting stage. The kernels are separated from the Argan shells in preparation for grinding them. This process is done manually.
How are the Argan nuts processed?
After completing the previous steps and taking out the kernels, the milling stage begins. In the production of Argan oil for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes, the kernel is crushed directly by a millstone. If the Argan oil is intended to be used for food, the kernel must first be roasted (ripening it over a fire). The process of extracting oil from the kernel for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes is very difficult. It takes a lot of muscle effort and time to complete the grinding process and begin the squeezing of the dough to extract the oil.
Argan Oil’s Use for Cosmetic Purposes
Argan oil intended for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes is distinguished by its golden yellow color and its distinctive light smell. This comes from the oil being extracted from the fresh Argan kernel directly without roasting. This process saves the nutritional and medicinal elements of the oil.
The Nutritional Benefits of Argan Oil (roasted)
Argan oil is very beneficial for health and contains very important nutrients for the human body. Some of these nutrients cannot be found in any other vegetable oil. Argan oil assists in absorbing harmful cholesterol inside the intestines strengthening the body's immune system and supporting blood circulation. Studies have proven the effectiveness of Argan oil in facilitating the digestive process and treating some cases of indigestion. It is also an antioxidant.
Argan oil is often consumed at breakfast and goes well with toasted barley bread and honey. It is also used in the preparation of some traditional Moroccan dishes such as couscous and tagine with beef or lamb.
Argan oil’s delicious taste and health benefits have resulted in it becoming part of the luxury market of oils. It is now used by chefs and can now be found in international kitchens and restaurants throughout the world.
About Amlou, A Moroccan Butter Comprised of Argan Oil, Honey and Roasted Almonds
Argan oil, the main ingredient of "Amlou, is mixed with honey and roasted grounded almonds. Similar to melted chocolate, Amlou is a rich, heavy liquid and is referred to as Moroccan Nutella by locals. “Amlou" is also known for its nutritional value and as a source of great energy. "Amlou" is eaten primarily for breakfast on bread or when drinking tea or coffee.
Almonds are dry seeds nutritious and rich in energy since they contain a high percentage of phytosterol. Phytosterol blocks cholesterol from being absorbed in the body and should be part of a healthy heart-eating plan. Almonds also contain minerals that are very beneficial for bones, have antioxidant properties, strengthen the immune system and fight disease.
Honey has many great benefits. One of the most important benefits is that it acts as an antibiotic. Honey also prevents the multiplication of germs, is a source of energy, and helps to reduce weakness, exhaustion, nervousness, and muscle stress.