Argan oil is extracted from argan seeds. The argan tree or argania spinosa is native to Morocco especially in the Agadir region. Moroccans eat the seeds raw, roast them and make a paste out of them and used as spread and dip. The oil from the fresh hand-pressed raw seeds has been used traditionally for treating skin problems.
Raw and pure oil of argan contains monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid which is an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid and linoleic acid which is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. Other fatty acids found in oil of argan include palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids. The oil also contains natural vitamin E, phenols, phenolic acid and carotenes.
When taken internally argan kernel or nut oil may help prevent atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and thrombosis or the formation of blood clot inside the blood vessel. This is due to the presence of oleic acid and linoleic acids.
A report published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2004 reported that the blood pressures of hypertensive rats were reduced after given argan seed oil treatment.
Just like olive oil, argan contains oleic acid and this omega-9 fatty acid is known to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart problems. Studies show that oleic acid has the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and improve the effectiveness of cancer drugs.
The presence of natural vitamin E in the form of tocopherols and carotene produces antioxidant activities. This is one of the reasons why argan seed oil is used as anti aging cream and skin care products. The oil makes an ideal moisturizer, make up remover and UV protection. You can also use it as a remedy for acne, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, scar treatment, stretch marks, fine lines or wrinkles and other skin problems.
Oil of argan is also widely marketed as hair care and treatment products. The oil is able to treat damage, frizzy and brittle hair and restore shine.
The Moroccan oil also helps strengthens brittle or cracked nails and softens cuticle because of the presence of fatty acids and vitamin E.