Argania spinosa – The Tree of life

The Argan Tree (Argania spinosa), also known as Morocco Ironwood, is native to southwestern Morocco. Botanically, Argan is an ancient species from the Tertiary Age, the only member of the tropical Sapotaceae family occurring north of the Sahara and the single species of the genus Argania. This tree can grow up to 10 meters (33 feet) and live anywhere from 125 to 450 years. It takes about 50 years for the argan tree to become mature enough to start producing fruit. The tree does wonders in protecting the area from desertification. Its roots grow deep into the soil in search for water which helps prevent soil erosion.

argan oil

Argan Oil, also referred to as the Liquid Gold of Morocco, is a rare and precious “active” oil that has been used in the beauty rituals of Moroccan women since antiquity. Argan trees grow in the semi-desert area of southwestern Morocco and produce fruit smaller than apricots.

Goats climb the Argan trees to eat the fruit off the trees. The digested argan kernel is removed from the goat’s droppings, cracked opened, and pressed to make Argan Oil. This leads the argan oil with a musky, unpleasant scent.

All of our Argan Oil is made from trees from goat-free farms. Arganizm only gathers fruit with the skin intact that has not been eaten by animal. Animal digested kernels have bacteria that change the texture and odor of the oil that causes the oil to go rancid easily. Argan oil produced from animal digested kernels is not certified organic and is a faction of the price.

How it’s made

Despite its naturally nutty aroma, Argan Oil is not made from a nut at all. Argania spinosa trees are fruit bearing, and Argan Oil is made from the kernel inside of the pit of the fruit. So this product is nut-free.

The extraction of the oil from the kernel is done by a hardworking team of women at our co-op.

In April the Argan fruit blooms. In June the fruits fall to the ground, and between July and August the fruits are gathered. The virgin harvest is then taken to the facility where the fruit is gently dried for several weeks.

Then the hard work begins. The pits are hand cracked between 2 stones by Berber women. A single Berber woman produces about 1 kilo of argan kernels daily, roughly 6-7 kilos a week. The extracted kernels are cold pressed under 40°C with no chemical solvents. After cold pressing, the oil rests for two weeks and is then filtered. It takes about 30kg of extracted kernels to yield about 2 kg of Argan Oil.

Types

There are two varieties of Argan Oil–culinary and cosmetic.

If the oil is to be consumed, the kernels are roasted and then pressed. This brings out the delicious nutty flavor in the oil. Roasted kernels produce a lot more oil than unroasted kernels. This is why culinary Argan Oil is less expensive than cosmetic.

Argan Oil for cosmetic use is made from raw, unroasted pits. It also has a bit of a nutty aroma when you first apply it, but that scent completely disappears within a few minutes.

Deodorized Argan Oil is cold press organic and it goes through a natural charcoal treatment, which eliminates most of the smell and leaves it with a much lighter texture and almost transparent appearance.

Our natural, gentle, and solvent-free process yields the highest quality Argan Oils. Beneficial “active” compounds such as saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, tocopherols, phenolic acids, and squalene are not removed thus making our Argan Oil the ultimate beauty secret for skin, hair, and nails.

Women’s cooperatives are taking a lead

Previously, women in small family businesses of two or three people would collect the argan fruit and extract its oil. Their husbands or brothers would then sell the oil in local markets or exchange it for sugar and other goods. In recent years, however, women’s co-operatives have been created to meet the surge in demand. These co-operatives provide the women with an income, as well as a social experience and improved status. Women regain the capacity to decide, to manage their income and to invest in the future by sending their children to school. The argan oil trade has made changes that will have an inuence over the way that society sees women there.