Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.), which is indigenous to Morocco and southwestern Algeria.
Argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta.
Argan oil is also used for cosmetic purposes.
CAS Number : 223747-87-3
EC Number : 607-015-7
Properties of Argan oil
99% of argan oil consists of triglycerides and related derivatives.
These are derived from the following fatty acids:
Fatty acid Percentage
Argan oil has a relative density at 20 °C (68 °F) ranging from 0.906 to 0.919.
Argan oil also contains traces of tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene.
Some trace phenols in argan oil include caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (−)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin.
Depending on the extraction method, argan oil may be more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.
Uses of Argan oil
In Morocco, Argan oil is used for culinary purposes e.g, dipping bread, salad dressings or on couscous.
Amlu, a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter, is used locally as a bread dip.
Argan oil is produced by grinding roasted almonds and argan oil together using stones, and then mixing the paste with honey.
Since the early 2000s argan oil has been increasingly used in cosmetics and hair care preparations.
As of 2020, the main cosmetics products containing argan oil are face creams, lip glosses, shampoos, moisturizers, and soaps.
Extraction of Argan oil
The argan nut contains one to three oil-rich argan kernels.
Extraction yields from 30% to 50% of the oil in the kernels, depending on the method.
Argan oil takes about 40 kilograms (88 lb) of dried argan fruit to produce only one litre of oil.
Extraction is key to the production process.
To extract the kernels, workers first dry argan fruit in the open air and then remove the fleshy pulp.
Some producers remove the flesh mechanically without drying the fruit.
Moroccans usually use the flesh as animal feed.
A tradition in some areas of Morocco allows goats to climb argan trees to feed freely on the fruits.
The kernels are then later retrieved from the goat droppings, considerably reducing the labour involved in extraction at the expense of some potential gustatory aversion.
In modern practice, the peels are removed by hand.
Workers gently roast kernels they will use to make culinary argan oil.
After the argan kernels cool, workers grind and press them.
The brown-coloured mash expels pure, unfiltered argan oil.
Finally, they decant unfiltered argan oil into vessels.
The remaining press cake is protein-rich and frequently used as cattle feed.
Production of Argan oil
After the first sales in the US of the cosmetic product in 2003, demand soared and production increased.
In 2012 the Moroccan government planned for increased production, then around 2,500 tonnes, to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Argan oil was found that stocks of argan oil were being diluted with oils such as sunflower, as the extraction process for pure argan oil can be difficult, and is costly.
In 2012, the Moroccan government started to randomly pull argan shipments and test for purity before exporting.
By 2020, production had greatly increased, especially after studies had suggested health benefits.
Almost all of the oil is sourced in Morocco, and is forecast to reach 19,623 US tons (17,802 tonnes) in 2022, up from 4,836 (4387 tonnes) in 2014; in value terms, US$1.79 billion (£1.4 billion stg).
The area of producing the oil is expanding: in 2020 it had started near the city of Agadir, 175 kilometres (109 mi) south of the traditional argan-producing area of Essaouira, and is due to expand north.
40 kilograms (88 lb) of dried argan fruit produces only one litre of oil.
Mechanically extracted oil production has started, with the industrial scale driving down prices, impacting the small co-operatives, where work is mostly done by Berber women in the traditional, labour-intensive way.
Mechanically produced oil can cost as little as US$22 a litre, less than half the cost of oil made by the cooperatives.
This can have a great social impact.
Effects of Argan oil
The argan tree provides food, shelter and protection from desertification.
The trees' deep roots help prevent desert encroachment.
The canopy of argan trees also provides shade for other agricultural products, and the leaves and fruit provide feed for animals.
The argan tree also helps landscape stability, helping to prevent soil erosion, providing shade for pasture grasses, and helping to replenish aquifers.
Producing argan oil has helped to protect argan trees from being cut down.
In addition, regeneration of the Arganeraie has also been carried out: in 2009 an operation to plant 4,300 argan plants was launched in Meskala in the province of Essaouira.
The Réseau des Associations de la Réserve de Biosphère Arganeraie (Network of Associations of the Argan Biosphere Reserve, RARBA) was founded in 2002 with the aim of ensuring sustainable development in the Arganeraie.
RARBA has been involved with several major projects, including the Moroccan national antidesertification programme (Programme National de Lutte contre la desertification, PAN/LCD).
The project involved local populations and helped with improvements to basic infrastructure, management of natural resources, revenue-generating activities (including argan oil production), capacity reinforcement, and others.
Social of Argan oil
The production of argan oil has always had a socioeconomic function.
At present, its production supports about 2.2 million people in the main argan oil–producing region, the Arganeraie.
Much of the argan oil produced today is made by a number of women's co-operatives.
Co-sponsored by the Social Development Agency with the support of the European Union, the UCFA (Union des Cooperatives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie) is the largest union of argan oil co-operatives in Morocco.
Argan oil comprises 22 co-operatives that are found in other parts of the region.
As of 2020, there were around 300 small firms, mostly co-operatives, in the area about 25 kilometres (16 mi) inland from Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast.
The women who harvest the seeds are mostly of the Berber ethnic group, with traditional skills dating from generations ago.
Employment in the co-operatives provides women with an income, which many have used to fund education for themselves or their children.
Argan oil has also provided them with a degree of autonomy in a traditionally male-dominated society and has helped many become more aware of their rights.
The success of the argan co-operatives has also encouraged other producers of agricultural products to adopt the co-operative model.
The establishment of the co-operatives has been aided by support from within Morocco, notably the Foundation Mohamed VI pour la Recherche et la Sauvegarde de l’Arganier (Mohammed VI Foundation for Research and Protection of the Argan Tree), and from international organisations, including Canada's International Development Research Centre and the European Commission.
However, despite many working a very long day, the women usually make less than US$221 (£170 stg) a month (and even as low as US$50), which is below Morocco's recommended national minimum wage.
Zoubida Charrouf, a chemistry professor at Mohammed V University of Rabat is an advocate for higher salaries, as well as the author of studies into its health benefits.
She says that some companies pay drivers to bring tourists to their facilities, to sell them the oil, rather than pay their workers properly.
Morocco's minister of agriculture has asked for Charrouf's help in forcing firms to join trade bodies and commit to paying staff the minimum wage.
Argan oil is extremely nutrient-rich with high levels vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
This nourishing and luxurious formula has a surprisingly lightweight finish on the skin, and is equally beneficial and suitable to use on the face, body and hair.
Application of Argan oil
apply directly onto the skin; can be used in substitute of your daily moisturiser.
For extremely dry skin, use in addition to your daily moisturiser.
suitable for treating split ends, apply lightly to ends of hair.
As a hair and scalp treatment, massage directly into the scalp and allow the argan oil to disperse through to the hair ends.
for the ultimate indulgence, apply all over as a body moisturiser.
Derived from the nuts of the argan tree, argan oil has been used for centuries in many ways.
Its popularity partially started in the world of cooking, often used in Moroccan-style recipes as a salad dressing.
Argan oil contains a number of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, as well as other compounds like polyphenols, squalene and triterpene alcohol.
You can recognize argan oil by its golden color and rich consistency.
Benefits of Argan oil
While it comes from a tiny kernel, argan oil packs a punch with what it can do for you.
“The fatty acids in it, like linoleic and oleic acids, are very hydrating,” says Dr. Khetarpal.
Argan oil also contains vitamin E and antioxidants that can prevent breakage and damage from free radicals.
Argan oil has been a culinary staple in Morocco for centuries — not only because of its subtle, nutty flavor but also its wide array of potential health benefits.
This naturally occurring plant oil is derived from the kernels of the fruit of the argan tree.
Although native to Morocco, argan oil is now used across the globe for a variety of culinary, cosmetic and medicinal applications.
Argan oil comes from argan trees that are native to Morocco.
Argan oil can benefit the skin and hair in several ways, such as hydrating and cleansing.
EC / List no.: 607-015-7
CAS no.: 223747-87-3
Hazard classification & labelling of Argan oil
According to the majority of notifications provided by companies to ECHA in CLP notifications no hazards have been classified.
Argan oil indicated, in 2009, as being intended to be registered by at least one company in the EEA.
Argan oil for which classification and labeling data have been submitted to ECHA in a registration under REACH or notified by manufacturers or importers under CLP.
Such notifications are required for hazardous substances, as such or in mixtures, as well as for all substances subject to registration, regardless of their hazard.
Argania spinosa, ext.
ARGANIA SPINOSA OIL
Argania spinosa, ext.