The Argan Tree
The argan tree – Argania spinosa
In the Oren farm there are orchards of argan trees from which we today produce the luxury oil known for its many health-giving and cosmetic properties and for seasoning food.
The argan tree originates from south-west Morocco, where 1 liter of oil only is produced from 6 to 8 trees. The argan tree is a prickly tree: it reaches a height of up to 10 meters, the width of the tree’s foliage is about 4 meters, its roots reach a depth of about 8 meters and a length of up to 90 meters. For this reason there are places where the trees are planted to stop soil erosion. The tree’s trunk is typically very hard and it is therefore known as the iron tree, and is used to make luxury furniture.
The tree can live for 200 years.
The fruit of the argan tree is a nut from which oil is extracted for food and cosmetic use. The oil is regarded as high-quality and valuable and it is renowned worldwide for its health and cosmetic properties.
The argan tree has been used for hundreds of years in Morocco by the Berbers to produce pure argan oil. In Morocco tourists are still taken to see the goats that climb on the branches of the argan trees and eat the fruit. The goats digest the external shell, the nuts are collected from their excrement and are shelled, and the oil is extracted from the kernels.
In recent years oil presses with mechanical equipment have been built to extract the oil using modern methods as distinct from the traditional manual method.
The trees in Morocco are in danger of extinction and therefore a lobby of Prince Albert of Monaco, chefs, and influential people organized a struggle to preserve the tree due to recognition of the oil’s health-giving seasoning and cosmetic properties. UNESCO, also declared an area of more than 2,560,000 hectares between the Atlas Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean a biosphere reserve. The significance of the declaration is that the organization finances the costs involved in preserving the trees.
Argan oil for eating is produced from the kernels inside the nuts. Among the oil’s healthy properties it is known that regular consumption helps immunize the body and balance blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. The argan oil with the reddish color and nutty taste which is used to season food is extracted from kernels that have been roasted.
Argan oil is known for its many cosmetic uses as it contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It encourages renewal of cells, is used to nourish dry skin, slow the process of the appearance of wrinkles, and for this reason it is added to luxury creams. The oil is known to help heal scars, chickenpox, acne, psoriasis, burns, skin diseases and dryness of the scalp.
The oil is used for hair care: it gives hair volume, a sheen, softness, and helps join split ends.
The oil helps strengthen split and broken nails.
Some people use the oil to relieve painful joints and rheumatic pains.
Because of these and other properties, the argan tree is known as the tree of life.