image source: med-health.net
Once endemic to North African landscape, Argania Spinosa or the Argan tree today features in list of endangered botanical species, and grows almost exclusively in semi-arid regions of Morocco; this in spite of the plant being naturally adapted to harsh environmental conditions.
With regards to health benefits, the oil obtained from the kernel of the fruits of the Argan tree can give olive oil a run for its money, and yet it’s only just beginning to get recognition in the Western world.
So, to those truly interested in learning more about this ‘golden oil’, we urge you to read on.
The Tree of Life
The Argan tree has played a life-sustaining role for people living in semi-arid regions of Morocco as well as their livestock for centuries. Whereas sheep, goats and camels feed off the leaves and fruits from the tree, local population on the other hand use the nutty kernel of the Argan fruit to extract oil for their dietary as well as cosmetic needs.
As for the press-cake left after extracting the oil, that becomes feed for the cattle and horses. It’s no wonder why the Berber community in Morocco consider Argania Spinosa as the ‘Tree of Life’. Today, Argan tree plantations exist primarily in Morocco, but one can also find them scattered around Algeria and Israel.
Argan Oil And Its Pro-Health Properties
Explained below are different health benefits of Argan oil:
1. Skin And Hair Protection: Wrinkles and photo-aging are two problems associated with prolonged exposure to the sun. In that respect, the high level of polyphenols present in Argan oil prevent damage to the skin by reducing the effect of UV-B rays of sun on it.
Sebum is an oily excretion from the pores of the skin, which produces greasiness on the face, not to mention the various disorders associated with it. Here too, Argan oil comes to the aid by reducing the sebum secretion thereby keeping the face clean and clear.
Furthermore, its been observed that shampoos containing a combination of cosmetic-grade Argan oil and polyglycerin-6 tends to reinstate the natural silkiness and softness to hair follicles.
2. Immune And Circulatory Efficiency: Both mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are considered to be good fats because they are capable of reducing plasma cholesterol level, and given that they are present in high quantity in Argan oil only augers well for the body. Then there is the aspect of linoleic acid, another form of fatty acid that promotes the production of prostaglandins in the body which in turn helps in keeping your body’s immune and circulatory system healthy.
3. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Aragon oil shows great potential in being used as a check against various types of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension (high BP) and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). This can be grossly attributed to the rich composition of poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and tocopherols (Vitamin E) found in the oil.
Anti-Cancer And Anti- Diabetic Potential
There still isn’t enough proof to suggest that Aragan fruit extracts can actually cure cancerous growths or diabetes in humans. However, based on animal studies conducted over the last decade, argan oil does show a lot of promise in these areas.
The tocopherols and saponins derived from Argan oil have exhibited varying degrees of anti-proliferation characteristics against different types of cancer cells in rats.
As for diabetes, a major part of the problem lies with the inability of the pancreas to produce a hormone called insulin. And without the dissemination of this hormone into the blood stream, the body simply struggles to acquire energy from the food one eats.
In this regard, tests done on rats using argan oil extracts have shown a form of ‘insulin signaling’ in liver and fat cells thereby giving weight to the theory that the oil might just have an anti-diabetic role to play in the future.
Do you use Argan oil in your everyday life and what do you think about it?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.