Spinosa kernel oil/Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco.
In Morocco, argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta. It is also used for cosmetic purposes.
Argan oil contains tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene, and fatty acids, (80% unsaturated fatty acids) The main natural phenols in argan oil are caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (−)-epicatechinand (+)-catechin.
Depending on the extraction method, argan oil may be more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.
Culinary argan oil (argan food oil) is used for dipping bread, on couscous, salads and similar uses. Amlou, a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter, is produced by grinding roasted almond and argan oil using stones, mixed with honey and is used locally as a bread dip.
Various claims about the beneficial effects on health due to the consumption of argan oil have been made. A research article published in 2010 found that argan oil contained higher levels than other oils of γ-Tocopherol, which possessed strong chemopreventive and anti-inflammatory properties
Moroccans traditionally use un-roasted Argan oil to treat skin diseases, and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair:
“In cosmetics, Argan oil is advocated as moisturizing oil, against acne vulgaris and flaking of the skin, as well as for ‘nourishing’ the hair. This oil has also [sic] medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns. Externally, Argan oil is used for hair as brilliantine, to fortify and in the treatment of wrinkled or scaly dry skin.”
No side effects are known.
None are recorded.