The story behind an ingredient – Argan Oil

a stand of argan trees in morocco (courtesy of wikipedia)

Since we have been buying raw ingredients for our soap making operation we have been learning some of the most interesting stories about small “micro-economic” enterprises that little by little change the world.   One of the truely amazing stories is that of Argan Oil.

Argan Oil comes from the Argan trees, which grow in North Africa, primarily in Morocco.  These trees can withstand tremendous drought, and have roots that sink deep into the soil and hold it fast from the advancing Sahara desert.  One of the big environmental problems of the past has been the clear cutting of these Argan trees.  Native berbers of Morocco use Argan for the oil extracted from the nut fruits the trees produce.  It is a laborious hand done process to squeeze and extract this oil, and the oil of the kernel of the fruit, but the product is both a dietary benefit as well as a cosmetic benefit.

Now protected by UNESCO, an arm of the UnitedNations, these trees are revered, and carefully culivated by the locals.  And the fruit nuts they give are collected and processed by small groups of berber women.  Women in the Moroccan Berber culture have few priveleges or rights.. so this small business of extracting Argan Oil has proved to be a great source of income, allowing them to get educated, and raise their overall prospects of life in Morocco.  Here is an interesting video i found interviewing some of the women who produce this rich oil.

We buy the Argan Oil to add to several of our products.  The argan oil provides a soothing ingredient that absorbs into the skin leaving it moisturized, smooth, while bringing a healing quality.  Moroccan Berbers use this for treating skin conditions, such as acne, and irritations of the skin.  We add it into soap, and have a few products in development.  Stay tuned.


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