Traditional uses and benefits of Argan Tree

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Argan Quick Facts
Name: Argan
Scientific Name: Argania spinosa
Origin Calcareous semi-desert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco
Colors Green to bright yellow in color
Shapes Round to oval, ovoid fleshy drupes 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.59–1.18 in) broad
Health benefits Support blood cholesterol levels, blood circulation, digestion, chicken pox pustules, juvenile acne, stretch marks and relieves sore muscle and joints
Argania spinosa, commonly known as argan tree, is a large shrub or small tree belonging to Sapontaceae family and is a sole species in the genus Argania. The tree is endemic to the calcareous semi-desert, low-rainfall, forested Sous valley of southwestern Morocco which is bordered on the east by the Sahara Desert and on the north by the Atlas Mountains. The trees presently function as a buffer zone by preventing incursion of the Sahara Desert (desertification) further west into Morocco. In 1998, UNESCO designated a chunk of this argan forest area as an international Biosphere Reserve for purposes of monitoring and researching the argan tree, its socio-economic environment and its uses. Few of the popular common names of the plant are Spiny Argania, Morocco Ironwood, argan, Goat-tree, Argan almond, Argan fruit, Argan oil, Argan tree, Moroccan fodder tree, Moroccan iron-wood tree and ironwood.

Genus name comes from the Latinized version of the local Moroccan name. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word spinosus meaning spiny. The tree is a very important local source of high quality edible oil. The tree is occasionally cultivated as an oil crop and this cultivation is spreading to areas outside its native range. The oil pressed from the seeds has been used in Morocco since ancient times as cooking oil in somewhat the same way as olive oil is used. Oil is rich in vitamin E. This tree was relatively unknown in North America until the end of the 20th century when the oil skyrocketed in popularity and price because of newly-discovered benefits from its use as an ingredient in human cosmetic products. The tree is known to live up to 200 years, and is an essential part of its environment in providing for people and animals as well as preventing erosion and desertification. The oil extracted from the seeds of this tree has played and is still playing an ever-increasing role in the culinary, cosmetic and medicinal applications, not only traditionally in the local Berber society but also on a global level.

Argan Tree Facts

Name Argan
Scientific Name Argania spinosa
Native Calcareous semi-desert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco
Common Names Argan Tree, Spiny Argania, Morocco Ironwood, argan, Goat-tree, Argan almond, Argan fruit, Argan oil, Argan tree, Moroccan fodder tree, Moroccan iron-wood tree, ironwood
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Argan             
Albanian: Argan              
Amharic: Arigani (አርጋን)
Arabic: Arghan (أرغان), Ardjan,   al’arkan (الأركان),    Argân,  Arqân (اﺭ قان),  Arkaan (ﺃﺭﻛﺎﻥ),  earajn (عرجن),   Al arkaan (الأركان),  Lawz el barbar
Armenian: Argan (արգան)        
Azerbaijani: Arqan         
Bengali: Argan 
Bulgarian: Arganovo (арганово)
Burmese: Aar gaan (အာဂန်)
Chinese: Móluògē jiānguǒ (摩洛哥坚果)
Croatian: Arganovo
Czech: Argan     
Danish: Argan, Argantræ             
Dutch: Argan, Arganboom, Arganolie, Marokkaanse olijfboom, arganie
English: Argan, Argantree, Goat-tree, Argan almond, Argan fruit, Argan oil, Argan tree, Moroccan fodder tree, Moroccan iron-wood tree, ironwood          
Esperanto: Argan            
Estonian: Argaan             
Filipino: Argan 
Finnish: Argan  
French: Argan, Aranier, Bois de fer, Arbre fourrager du Maroc, Bois de fer du Maroc, Huile d’argan, Huile d’arganier, Olivier du Maroc, bois d’Argan
Georgian: Argani (არგანი)        
German: Argan, Arganbaum, Arganie, Arganöl, Eisenbaum, Eisenholz, afrikanischer Arganbaum, marokkanischer Eisenholzbaum, Schlangenhautbaum                    
Greek: Árnkan (Άργκαν)             
Gujarati: Argan
Hausa: Argan    
Hebrew: ארגן    
Hindi: Argan     
Hungarian: Argan           
Icelandic: Argan              
Indonesian: Argan          
Irish: Argan        
Italian: Argan, Albero legno ferro, Argania, Arganio, Olio di Argania, legno ferro del Marocco
Japanese: Arugan (アルガン),  Arugania (アルガニア),  Arugan oiru (アルガンオイル)
Javanese: Argan              
Kannada: Argān                (ಅರ್ಗಾನ್)
Kazakh: Arhan (арган)
Korean: Aleugan (아르간)
Kurdish: Argan 
Lao: Argan          
Latin: Argan       
Latvian: Argans
Lithuanian: Arganas       
Macedonian: Argan (арган)       
Malagasy: Argan             
Malay: Argan    
Malayalam: Argan (അർഗൻ)
Maltese: Argan
Marathi: Argan
Mongolian: Argan (арган)
Morocco: Ardjan             
Nepali: Argan   
Norwegian: Argan          
Oriya: Argan      
Pashto: ارګ       
Persian: آرگان  
Polish: Argan
Portuguese: Argan, argânia
Punjabi: Āragana (ਆਰਗਨ)
Romanian: Argan
Russian: Arganovoe (аргановое), Argan (Арган), Arganniia koliuchaia (Аргания колючая), arganiya (аргания)  
Serbian: Argan (Арган)
Sindhi: آرگن
Sinhala: Agan (ආගන්)
Slovenian: Argan
Spanish: Argán, Aceite del argán, argània
Sudanese: Argan
Swedish: Argan, Arganträd
Tajik: Argan (арган)
Tamil: Ārkaṉ (ஆர்கன்)
Telugu: Argan
Thai: Argan
Turkish: Argan, Argan ağacı , Marok zeytin ağacı
Ukrainian: Argan (арган)
Urdu: آرگن
Uzbek: Argan
Vietnamese: Argan
Welsh: Argan
Zulu: I-argan
Plant Growth Habit Long-lived, evergreen, thorny, medium-sized shrub or small tree
Growing Climates Slopes of rough hills, seeming to thrive between the rocks on poor soil
Soil Thrives in almost all kinds of soils, with a preference for sandy deposits and poor desert soils
Plant Size 8-10 m tall, sometimes up to 20 m with a trunk diameter of up to 100 cm
Root Strong root system can reach a depth of 35 m, making it able to survive droughts, and suitable for arid and semi-arid areas
Leaf Leaves are small, clustered and lanceolate up to 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long, and oval with a rounded apex.They can absorb any moisture from the air
Flowering season May-June
Flower Inflorescences are axillary borne. The flowers are small, bisexual with five greenish-yellow colored petals.
Fruit Shape & Size Round to oval, ovoid fleshy drupes 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.59–1.18 in) broad
Fruit Color Green to bright yellow in color
Fruit Skin Thick, bitter peel
Seed One (occasionally two or three) small, oil-rich seeds
Propagation By Seed
Plant Parts Used Seed oil
Lifespan Approximately 200 years
Season June to July
Precautions
  • Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.
  • It may cause skin irritation, Rashes, Itching and Inflammation in some cases.

Plant Description

Argan tree is a long-lived, evergreen, thorny, medium-sized shrub or small tree that normally grows about 8-10 m tall but exceptionally reaching 21 meters.  The bole can be 100 cm in diameter. 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. The knotty trunk can sometimes have several criss-crossed stems and wide spreading crown. The crown has a circumference of about 70 m (230 ft.) and the branches lean towards the ground. The plant has strong root system that can reach a depth of 35 m, making it able to survive droughts, and suitable for arid and semi-arid areas. The plant is found growing in slopes of rough hills, seeming to thrive between the rocks on poor soil. The plant can thrives in almost all kinds of soils, with a preference for sandy deposits and poor desert soils.

Leaves

The leaves are small, clustered and lanceolate up to 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long, and oval with a rounded apex. They can absorb any moisture from the air

Flower

The inflorescences are axillary borne. The flowers are small, bisexual with five greenish-yellow colored petals. Flowering normally takes place in between May-June.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by round to oval, ovoid fleshy drupes 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.59–1.18 in) broad, with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling but unpleasantly flavored layer of pulpy pericarp. They are green to bright yellow in color and their pulp consists of milky latex unpleasant for humans. They are quite similar to olive fruits, but larger and rounder, and they may contain up to 3 small oil rich seeds. The argan seed is a hard-shelled nut containing 1-3 kernels and yielding 50% of edible oil. The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in June to July of the following year.

In the past, fruits are beaten off the branches and were fed to goats then the nut recovered from the animal dung. Today, in many cases, the fruit is gathered and the nut extracted by machines. From hundreds of kilograms of fruits, only 5 kilograms of nuts and only one liter of argan oil are obtained.

Traditional uses and benefits of Argan Tree

  • Argan seed oil is rich in vitamin E and can lower blood cholesterol levels, stimulate blood circulation, facilitate digestion, and strengthen the body’s natural defenses.
  • The oil is also edible and can be mixed with almonds and honey, or wheat germ and honey.
  • It is used as a cure for chicken pox, to treat juvenile acne and help remove stretch marks on pregnant woman.
  • Argan oil is traditionally used to treat belly stretch marks, chicken pox pustules and acne.
  • The presence of Triterpenoids fades away the signs of early aging like fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles.
  • It rejuvenates the cells by penetrating deep into the skin cells. Thus, helps to fade away the scars, burn marks, and stretch marks.
  • It balances the moisture levels of the skin and helps prevent the formation of acne.
  • It also protects against harmful UV radiation coming from the sun by forming a protective layer on the skin.
  • It keeps a good care of the heart by reducing cholesterol levels and prevents blood clots.
  • The Antioxidants and Triterpenoids neutralize the free radicals and inhibit the growth of Tumors.
  • It increases the levels of Pepsin which stimulates the gastric juices in the stomach. Thus, helps in better digestion.
  • Vitamin E treats split ends, dry scalp, and frizzy hair. It restores its lost luster.
  • The antibacterial property protects the nail beds from infections. It improves the nail health.
  • Besides, it also heals chapped lips and heels.
  • It keeps a good care of the liver.
  • Massage with this oil is beneficial in relieving sore muscle and joints. It relieves the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.

Ayurvedic Health Benefits of Argan tree

  • Acne: Apply it over the affected area at night daily until it cures completely. Note: You may add 4 to 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil in 10 ml of Argan Oil, to make it more effective.
  • Wrinkles: Take 2 to 3 drops of Argan Oil in your palms. Spread it over the affected area before going to bed daily.
  • Acne Scars: Take 2 to 3 drops of Argan Oil. Apply on the face. Massage for 5 to 10 minutes gently in circular motion. Repeat 2 times a day for a week to fade away the scars due to Acne.
  • Cracked Heels: Take 3 to 4 drops of Argan Oil. Gently massage to your Heels and feet for 10 minutes. Wear a pair of socks. Leave overnight. Continue this every night for a week.
  • Stretch Marks: Take 3 to 4 drops of lukewarm Argan Oil. Apply it onto the affected area. Massage gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this twice a day for a month.
  • Excoriation: Apply 3 to 4 drops of lukewarm Argan Oil on the affected area. Gently massage for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat 3 to 4 time’s day. Do this for a month to get rid of Excoriation.
  • Dark Circles around Eyes: Take 1 to 2 drops of Argan Oil. Apply it under the Eyes. Gently massage in the circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this daily to diminish Dark Circles.
  • Frizzy Hair: Apply sufficient amount of Argan Oil to your Hair. Massage gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap your Hair with a towel. Leave it for half an hour. Wash off with shampoo. Repeat this 2 to 3 times a week to keep hair soft and shiny.
  • High Cholesterol: Add few drops of Argan Oil in the salads. Daily intake of 10 to 12 g helps to lower down the High Cholesterol.
  • Brittle Nails: Take equal amount of Lemon Juice and Argan Oil in a bowl. Dip affected nails for 10 minutes, and then wash them off. Do it twice a day. OR: Take 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice and add to warm glass of water. Dip your nails for 10 min. It will make your nails white.
  • Wrinkles: Take one ounce of Argan Oil and 30 drops each of Geranium Essential Oil and Jasmine Essential Oil. Mix them well. Dab a cotton ball in this blend and apply to the face and neck area. Repeat the process daily before going to bed.
  • Frizzy Hair: Take half ounce of water and add 10 drops of Argan Oil and 20 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil in it. Mix them well. Spray this blend to the scalp and allow it to dry. Repeat the process two times a day. It stimulates hair follicles to release more natural oil that gives hair its shine.

Different Uses

Food: It is an importance as a source of edible (cooking) oil, which is an excellent source of vitamin E. The white seeds consist of up to 50% of light brown oil with oil production being between 1000 to 2000 tons per year. This oil has a high nutritional value in the human diet. The locals mix oil with almonds and honey to make an almond butter; it also mixed with wheat germ and honey to make gruel. The residue from the kernels after oil extraction is a thick chocolate-colored paste called ‘amlou’ which is sweetened and served as a dip for bread at breakfast time in Berber households. Its flavor is similar to that of peanut butter.

Fodder: It is a major source of forage for sheep, goats and cattle. When goats eat the fruit, the fleshy part is digested but the nut, because of its hard shell, is excreted. Later, the nuts are collected by farmers to produce oil. The sun-dried cake residue is also fed to livestock although this reduces the milk quality.

Fuel: The hard, heavy and durable wood gives good charcoal and firewood. The nut-shells are also burned for cooking.

Timber: The wood of the argan, amazingly indestructible by insects, has been used for centuries in carpentry, charcoal, construction and utensils at local level.

Apiculture: Bees often nest in these trees, providing a treasured source of honey.

Lipids: Oil is the most valuable product derived from the tree. In the Essaouira region alone, oil production is between 1000 to 2000 tons per year. The ratio of total unsaturated to total saturated fatty acids is around 4:5. Argan oil consists of about 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids of which 30% is linoleic acid. The specific composition of the oil produced makes it a resource for nutritional, cosmetic and medical usage

Services

Erosion control: Argania spinosa shields thin soils from erosion especially in overgrazed lands. Its roots facilitate water infiltration and replenish ground water hence stabilization of environmental conditions. Roots of the argan tree grow deep in search of water, helping to bind the soil and prevent erosion.

Shade or shelter: It provides valuable shade for humans and livestock as well as the shade protects pasture grasses from the extreme evapotranspiration that would result from direct exposure to sunlight. Pasture grasses grow in the tree’s shade, away from the extreme conditions in direct sunlight.

Reclamation: The argan tree has a fundamental role in the ecological balance. It maintains soils with its roots, insures their fertility and protects them from the erosion which threatens a vast part of the land. Moreover, it facilitates water infiltration and aquifer replenishment. Argan woodlands form a green belt or functions as a buffer against desert advancement in southern Morocco.

Boundary or barrier or support: Argan brushwood is used for fencing and windbreaks.

Intercropping: It can be intercropped with other species hence an agroforestry species.

Culinary Uses

  • Edible oil is obtained from the seed.
  • Oil is an excellent source of vitamin E, and has a high nutritional value in the human diet.
  • The locals mix oil with almonds and honey to make an almond butter. It also mixed with wheat germ and honey to make gruel.
  • Residue from the kernels, after oil extraction, is a thick chocolate-colored paste called ‘amlou’ which is sweetened and served as a dip for bread at breakfast time in Berber households.
  • Its flavor is similar to that of peanut butter.
  • Fruit are pressed for the oil which has an aroma and is used in cooking.
  • The oil is used like olive oil for cooking, frying and salad dressing.

Other Facts

  • Argan tree can be planted to prevent soil erosion due to its extensive root system.
  • It also serves as wind breakers and is used for fencing.
  • Its wood is very hard, heavy, and durable thus it is used in carpentry.
  • The wood is a good fuel and makes a very good charcoal.
  • Argan tree is drought-tolerant and frost-tolerant.
  • It shields thin soils from erosion, particularly in overgrazed lands.
  • Its deep roots help to bind the soil, facilitate water infiltration and replenish groundwater, thus helping to stabilize environmental conditions.
  • Tree provides valuable shade for humans and livestock as well protecting pasture grasses from the extreme evapotranspiration that would result from direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Argan woodlands form a green belt that functions as a buffer against desert advancement in southern Morocco.
  • Oil obtained from the seed is used for lighting and to make soap.
  • It is very resistant to damage from wood-eating organisms.
  • It is used in carpentry, for making agricultural implements and building poles.
  • The seed shells are also burnt as a fuel.
  • Trees may start to bear when 5 – 6 years old from seed, and reach maximum production at the age of 60 years.
  • The average fruit yield may be about 8 kg per tree.
  • It is a long-lived species, with trees living for 200 – 400 years.
  • In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of forage, oil, timber, and fuel in Berber society.
  • Especially near Essaouira, the argan tree is frequently climbed by goats.
  • It is mainly cultivated for its oil and it is an important fodder tree in Morocco, particularly for goats.
  • Argan oil is used to make yellow soaps and hair and skin care products.

References:

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Argania+spinosa

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286835

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argania

https://www.feedipedia.org/node/54

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/ARJSI

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/6888

https://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Argania+spinosa

83%
83%
Awesome

Comments

comments

Share.

Comments are closed.

DISCLAIMER

The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are following any medication, take any herb, mineral, vitamin or other supplement only after consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times writers, publishers, authors, its representatives disclaim liability for any unfavorable effects causing directly or indirectly from articles and materials contained in this website www.healthbenefitstimes.com