Today, I'm going to let you into a little secret: Argan oil. For women in the know, you're already very aware of the cosmetic properties that have catapulted this much-sought after oil from Morocco to the fore.
But whilst many have been trying to bring this miraculous oil to market as a cosmetic product, the Berber women who produce it have an altogether different use for it.
What do we know about argan oil, really?
From an environmental point of view, we know that in the arid lands of Morocco, the argan tree is a potential life saver. And that’s not being overly dramatic.
The roots of an argan tree are deep. Very deep. So much so that whilst all around the plains may be barren through lack of hydration, the argan tree continues to thrive.
Not only do the fruits of the tree that become the special hair and skin treatment we see in all of the top boutiques like Harvey Nicks and Harrods continue to provide income for the Berber women, but the foliage provides much needed shade for them and arable vegetation that can be farmed in their shadow.
Add in the fact that the trees form a barrier to prevent desert ingression and you start to see how important the argan tree is to the Berber people.
Add argan oil to your diet for instant health benefits. Say what?
This week, however, a whole new slant has hit the market.
Whilst the cosmetic industry has been pontificating about the natural goodness contained in argan oil for hair- and skin-care, we’re beginning to understand how argan oil is being used as a cooking ingredient, too.
That’s right. Not any old cooking oil, but a healthy one to boot.
Already, argan oil has been linked with helping to stave off type 2 diabetes, reduce LDL cholesterol, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Now can you see where I’m coming from when I say it’s a life saver?
Argan oil is and always will be an exclusive product
Production is nowhere near as intensive as olive oil and is never likely to be.
It takes the Berber women 50 kilograms of argan seeds to produce just 500ml of oil, making it the most expensive cooking oil on the market, today.
Demand is also forcing up the stock price. Genuine Moroccan argan Oil is becoming a much sought-after cosmetic ingredient for beauty regimes as well as on the side of a Moroccan supper with bread and couscous.
As such, huge efforts are now being made by the organisations that protect the rights of the Berber women who make argan oil, UCFA, alongside environmental authorities to ensure that the trees are not over-forested and that the land doesn’t become so arid that new growth can’t be sustained.
New growth is the key to help Morocco cope with increased global demand as well as sustaining the education and development of the Berber women themselves.
It’s not only you getting an exclusive makeover with argan oil every time you use it, but it’s going a long way to giving Morocco a much-needed face-lift, too.
Look good outside, feel good inside – can’t beat it, can you?
Photo Credits - (Header) CC: 'OnoArgan' by Alexander Talbot - (Sidebar) CC: 'Diabetes' by Jill Brown
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