Health Benefits of Argan Oil
Some of the most important health benefits of argan oil include its ability to speed wound healing, moisturize the skin, slow aging, lower cholesterol, treat cancer, improve hair health, optimize digestion, reduce inflammation, protect the liver, manage diabetes, strengthen the nails, and boost heart health.
There is a certain species of tree in Morocco, called the argan tree, which produces a very valuable plant oil from its kernels. With the scientific name of Argania spinosa, you can find this tree in a few other parts of the world, but it is endemic to that North African nation, and the oil wasn’t found too widely throughout the world until recently. In Morocco, this oil is used to drizzle over food, almost like a standard olive oil, but recent discoveries of other health benefits from this oil have led to its broader exportation. The oil is extracted from the 1-3 kernels found in the hard-shelled nut surrounded by the argan fruit’s pulp.
Argan oil is used for culinary purposes, as well as cosmetic ones, and is often added into couscous, salads, and other sauces. Argan pulp can also be made into a paste to be spread on desserts and bread, similar to peanut butter. The oil can be directly applied to the skin for certain conditions, or mixed in with other creams, salves, or carrier oils. Many people also use the oil directly on the hair. Given its use in food, argan oil is one of the more versatile natural oils, as it can be safely used internally and topically. The limited amount of this resource in Morocco has made the price a bit dear, but the government is planning to increase production in order to meet the increasing demand.
Health Benefits of Argan Oil
Skin Health: The most well known and commonly relied on function of argan oil is as a skin treatment. The triterpenoids found in this powerful oil, in combination with other organic compounds found in the oil, are able to eliminate the appearance of age spots and scars, and can even affect the severity of acne and dermatitis. Furthermore, if you have any tumorous skin cells, the volatile compounds of argan oil can reduce them and keep you both feeling and looking young. Premature aging is a serious problem for many people, but by maintaining skin elasticity, argan oil can prevent those typical symptoms of aging.
Sun Protection: While it might be nice to be out in the sunshine, the UV radiation from our sun can have a number of negative effects on the skin, hair, and nails. Fortunately, the compounds found in argan oil can protect against these negative effects, which can significantly speed up the aging process, and also contribute to skin cancers. It also promotes the regeneration of cells and increases overall health.
Heart Health: Using cooking oils is something that we all do, but choosing a healthier option like argan oil can help to rebalance your cholesterol levels. By lowering your levels of bad cholesterol, and increasing your HDL cholesterol levels, you can help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and other serious heart issues caused by cholesterol.
Cancer Prevention: Argan oil is packed with antioxidants and triterpenoids, which can directly influence the levels of free radicals in your body. Free radicals can cause cancer and other chronic diseases by causing healthy cells to mutate. Prostate cancer and bladder cancer have been the main areas of study thus far, but the general anti-inflammatory properties of argan oil can help reduce tumors and other cancerous growths throughout the body.
Digestion: Many people eat right, but their bodies don’t properly take in the food they need, mainly through disorders of the stomach or a poorly functioning gastric system. The organic compounds in argan oil can increase pepsin levels in the stomach, and also boost gastric juices, which results in more efficient digestion of food and a higher nutrient intake.
Hair Health: People are always looking for ways to improve their appearance, and this is particularly true for the hair. If you suffer from split ends, which annoys millions of people around the world, adding argan oil directly to your hair can be a quick and effective remedy. There is a high concentration of vitamin E in argan oil, which can rejuvenate the hair, protect the follicle beds, and improve the shine and overall appearance.
Nail Quality: Unhealthy nails are more than just unattractive; they are also breeding grounds for bacteria and fungal infections. Argan oil has natural antibacterial qualities that can protect your nail beds from a wide variety of infections and improve the appearance and color of your nails.
Liver Health: The liver is not only one of the most delicate organs in the body, but also one of the most important. Therefore, after a lifetime of flushing out toxins and handling all the terrible things we put inside our body, the liver can always use a boost. Fortunately, the hepatoprotective properties of argan oil mean that it can boost your liver health every time you add a bit of oil to one of your meals!
Wound Healing: If you have a wound or other abrasion on your skin and want to not only speed its healing, but also prevent infections, apply some argan oil topically to the skin, or put it in a carrier oil. Internal consumption also helps with wound healing, but it’s much more effective when directly applied.
A Final Word of Warning: There are no common side effects of using argan oil, but there have been limited reports of allergic reactions in the form of rashes, and in one extreme case – anaphylaxis. You should always speak to your medical professional before adding an herbal remedy to your health regimen, and always purchase argan oil from a reputable source, like a trained herbalist.