Argan Oil, made from the nuts of the argan tree, is said to be “liquid gold” and the “Fountain of Youth”. The oil, which is also touted to have restorative and age-defying effects, has become one of the latest miracle ingredients in the beauty industry. High in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it is believed to help all sorts of skin conditions: dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles. Moroccans slather it on their skin, hair, nails and even their babies. They eat it, too — drizzling it over salads and couscous, or using it to make amlou, a tahinilike spread of the oil, almonds and honey. Argan Oil is not only a “super food” for the skin and hair but for the whole body. Having twice as much Vitamin E as olive oil including vital antioxidants, Argan Oil plays a major role in a healthy diet and is commonly used in traditional Moroccan recipes.
Even better than this miracle oil is the positive gender and socio-economic effects Argan Oil has on it’s endemic growing region. Produced exclusively from the nuts of the Argan tree in the semi-desert region of Morocco, the extraction of the Argan Oil is a labor-intensive process that has been perfected by the women native to southwest Morocco. In 2002, the Moroccan government helped establish female cooperatives to manufacture Argan Oil. These programs provide women of rural Morocco with a steady income, a fair wage, good working conditions, as well as literacy and other education classes. Perhaps most importantly, the co-ops give women a keen sense of empowerment in this traditionally male-dominated society. These programs also help protect the Argan forests’ limited supply of trees. The co-ops are dedicated to responsible harvesting practices and reforestation projects, which – along with environmental protection policies – aid in the preservation of the Argan forests and women’s jobs.
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