This is the first time I’ve written about Argan carrier oil, and it is not one that I have used a lot. It is an expensive oil, so I would be more inclined to use it in combination with other carrier oils. For instance, I would certainly consider adding it to the carrier oils when blending for Stretch Marks or Wrinkles.
I also believe that creating a synergy between essential oils and carriers produced from plants grown under similar dry, desert conditions could be very beneficial. The essential oils that immediately come to my mind are elemi, frankincense, and myrrh.
If you’re wondering about the goat in the picture, in Morocco goats climb the trees in order to feed on the fruit of the tree.
Argan (Argana spinosa)
Description: The Argan tree, also known as Morocco Ironwood, is quite a thorny evergreen tree that grows up to 10m high. Its life span is said to be anywhere from 125 to 450 years and the tree may not come into full production until it is 40-60 years old. They are indigenous to Morocco and have adapted to harsh dry desert conditions. It has small leaves that are long and oval with a rounded apex. The small flowers have five pale yellow-green petals and flower in April. The fruit has a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling but an unpleasantly flavored layer of pulpy pericarp. This surrounds the very hard nut, which contains the small, oil-rich seed. The fruit takes over a year to mature slowing changing from lime green to yellow by June to July of the following year.
History Folklore: The Berber people refer to the Argan tree as The Tree Of Life. This is because it helps to make life possible for many creatures in the semi-arid desert of south Morocco. Its roots travel deep to find water and help to bind the soil. The tree’s root system also facilitates water infiltration and aquifer replenishment.
Garden cultivation: None
Harvest: Argan fruit falls in July, when black and dry. Until this happens, goats are kept out of the argan woodlands by wardens. Rights to collect the fruit are controlled by law and village traditions. The traditional method of collecting the kernels was to allow the goats to eat the fruit and when they passed the kernels, these were collected from the ground and pressed for oil. The production of argan oil, which is still mostly done by traditional methods, is a lengthy process. Each nut has to be cracked open to remove the kernels, and it is said that producing one liter of oil takes 20 hours’ work. As the oil has become more popular, modern methods of collection and processing have been introduced.
Extraction: Cold pressed yellow carrier oil with a slightly nutty odor is extracted from the raw kernels. It is absorbed by the skin quite quickly.
Shelf Life: 2 years
Cautions: Avoid with nut allergies.
Actions: This carrier has good resistance to oxidation, as well as having good skin softening properties. It also regulates sebum levels and can be helpful in wound-healing.
Uses: This is an oil that can be used for all skin types. It is particularly helpful for prematurely aging skin, as well as for damaged skin. It has also been used for anti-scarring and stretch marks. It is sometimes used in hair products, as it is an excellent condition and can be left on the scalp without making the hair feel greasy.
References Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Thomas Bartram, 1995, 1998 Jan Kusmirek, Liquid Sunshine, Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy, 2002 Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017 Leung and Foster, Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 1996 Susan M Parker, Power of the Seed, Your guide to oils for health & beauty, 2014 Len Price, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, 1999 Danielle Sage, the Aromatherapy Beauty Guide, 2017