Argan oil from Essaouira
Argan oil is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, that only grows in a small part of Morocco. It is highly valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and medicinal properties. The tree is extremely well adapted to drought and the poor soil of south-western Morocco. The tree and the area where it grows is protected by UNESCO.
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 litre of oil takes 20 hours' work.
Most of the argan oil (including the product we sell) is produced by women's cooperatives that share the profits among the local women of the Berber tribe.
The cooperatives have established an ecosystem reforestation project so that the supply of argan oil will not run out and the income that is currently supporting the women will not disappear. The money provides healthcare and education to the local women, and supports the entire community as a whole.
The oil is over 80% unsaturated fat, rich in vitamin E, linoleic acids and oleic acids (omega 4). Cosmetically it is believed to assist in the skin's anti-aging, increasing its elasticity, softness and clarity. We sell the cosmetic oil, and a large number of our body products include argan oil.
It is also claimed to have various medicinal properties, such as lowering cholesterol levels, stimulating circulation and strengthening the body's natural defences. It has a mild nutty taste, not dissimilar to hazelnut oil, and is lovely drizzled over char-grilled peppers or stirred into warm couscous.