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Argan oil is a rare plant-based oil, extracted from the kernels of argan fruit, which is indigenous to Morocco. It is the traditional cooking oil in Moroccan recipes and makes you instantly fall in love with its nutty flavour. Argan oil is loaded with health-boosting properties which not only prevents diseases but also improves your overall well-being.

But this oil is much more than a delectable and healthy addition to your pantry. It one of the most expensive cosmetic oils in the world and is popularly known as liquid gold in the international market. 

Argan oil is a natural moisturising agent and it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which helps relieve common skin problems like acne. Being a rich source of vitamin E, argan oil rightfully earned its position as the sweetheart of the cosmetic industry, especially anti-aging products.

  1. Health benefits of argan oil
  2. How to use and where to use
  3. Side effects and toxicity

Argan oil fulfils all the criteria for a healthy cooking oil and natural massage oil. About  99% of the total fat in argan oil comes from omega-6 fatty acids (45% oleic acids, 34% linoleic acid), while the rest 1% consists of several bioactive compounds like vitamin E, carotenoids and phenols. This unique composition makes it stand out amongst all the cooking oils in a supermarket aisle. It helps maintain heart health, provides an even toned and younger looking skin and is also helpful in getting that luscious mane of your dreams. Let us explore some of the scientifically proven health benefits of argan oil.

  1. Argan oil benefits for skin
  2. Argan oil benefits for stretch marks
  3. Argan oil benefits for hair
  4. Argan oil for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis
  5. Argan oil benefits for heart
  6. Argan oil prevents diabetes
  7. Anticancer effects of argan oil

Argan oil benefits for skin

Argan oil has an array of active compounds that may aid you in getting inherently healthy and youthful skin. It is enriched with antioxidants and vitamin E that will rejuvenate your skin, giving you a beautiful, toned and blemish-free look. Studies suggest that topical application of this oil has more benefits as compared to consumption due to increased bioavailability of the product

Moisturizer

Nobody likes dry and lifeless skin. Dry skin problems occur due to lack of or excessive loss of moisture from your skin cells. Argan oil is an excellent emollient. It moisturises and soothes your skin, making it look more supple and soft. It also improves skin barrier, which helps locks in the moisture and prevents skin dryness. Due to its richness with vitamin E, argan oil also rejuvenates the skin and makes it youthful and glowy.

(Read more: Home remedies for dry skin)

Reduces skin pigmentation

Argan oil reduces hyperpigmentation developed from sun exposure, melasma and post-inflammatory melanoderma (increase in production and accumulation of melanin), as evidenced by research studies. This is due to the presence of tocopherol (vitamin E), free fatty acids, and carotenoids in argan oil. It reduces melanin production in the skin, which is helpful in preventing dark spots and improving skin complexion.

(Read more: How to get rid of dark spots)

Anti-ageing

Argan oil has shown promising results as an anti-ageing supplement. Clinical studies indicate that this oil helps in delaying the appearance of wrinkles by increasing skin elasticity. This is especially helpful in postmenopausal women where decreased oestrogen levels lead to disruption in skin functioning. Both consumptions, as well as topical applications of this oil, have been found to be helpful in slowing down skin ageing.

(Read more: Face skin tightening remedies)

Heals burns and wounds

In vivo (animal based) studies indicate that regular application of argan oil is helpful in healing second-degree burn wounds within 7 days. It increases fibroblast (skin cells) activity at the burn site, ensuring faster wound closure and reducing the chances of scar formation.

Psoriasis and eczema

Long before argan oil got its fame, Moroccan people used this oil to treat psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis and eczema both are inflammatory skin conditions associated with flaking, redness and itching of the skin. As a natural anti-inflammatory remedy, this oil facilitates a reduction in swelling and the natural moisturising and antioxidant properties of argan oil help improve overall skin health. 

Apart from the above mentioned benefits, Moroccan oil is traditionally used for the treatment of acne and juvenile pimples. It is also helpful in diminishing chicken pox scars.

Argan oil benefits for stretch marks

Probably no one ever wants to have even a single stretch mark on their body but as unpleasant and unaesthetic they are, their occurrence cannot be avoided. Stretch marks are a type of scar, which occurs when skin undergoes rapid expansion or shrinkage. Most commonly they appear during or after pregnancy and at puberty. Sudden weight loss or weight gain are some other causes. Well, here is another benefit of this divine oil, it increases skin elasticity, thereby preventing the formation of new marks and diminishing the mature stretch marks. All you have to do is apply a handful of argan oil over the affected area and massage it gently.

Argan oil benefits for hair

Just like your skin, argan oil can do wonders for hair as well. It provides nourishment to your scalp and prevents inflammatory conditions like eczema. Being rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, it helps delay hair greying and puts a stop to hair fall. Argan oil is used as a conditioner and massage oil to get longer and shinier hair.

Hair fibres are mainly made up of protein and hair damage occurs due to protein loss from hair. Argan oil helps to prevent this protein loss, making your hairs less prone to damage.

Furthermore, it helps in preserving the moisture content in your hair, making them look shinier and lively. Locking in moisture also prevents frizz.

(Read more: How to stop hair fall)

Argan oil for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition characterised by intense pain and swelling in joints. It is usually treated with anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. But what if you can treat your pain with a natural and organic remedy right at your home? It has been scientifically proven that a regular dose of argan oil may just be enough to provide you relief from the distressing pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

In a random clinical trial, 100 patients suffering from osteoarthritis were told to consume 30ml of argan oil every day for a period of 8 weeks. Symptoms were assessed after the designated period to check for pain and walking difficulties. The result of this study indicated considerable pain relief along with a significant improvement in range of movement. It was further suggested that this action was due to the lipid modulating activity of argan oil. It means that this oil has the capability to change the structure of fat molecules in the body, which is conducive to pain reduction in RA.

Additionally, the antioxidant properties of argan oil help improve immune function and reduce inflammation and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Argan oil benefits for heart

Argan oil contains the perfect balance between monounsaturated fatty acids (44.8% MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (33.7% PUFA),  which makes it one of the healthiest cooking oils you can get your hands on.

Research evidence suggests that PUFA reduces bad cholesterol (LDL, VLDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood, thus reducing the risk of hypercholesterolemia. In addition to this argan oil also has sterols in it. This compound plays an important role in reducing cholesterol levels.

PUFA inhibits blood vessel constriction, which aids in maintaining blood pressure levels. It also blocks platelet aggregation inside blood vessels thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

(Read more: Heart disease symptoms)

Argan oil prevents diabetes

Animal studies demonstrate the anti-diabetic potential of virgin argan oil. It is suggested that regular administration of argan oil not only helps in reducing blood sugar levels but also it is helpful in preventing the progression of this condition in prediabetics. It was further indicated that argan oil reduces weight loss associated with diabetes. This is attributed to chemical substances like tocopherols, phenolic compounds and unsaturated fatty acids present in argan oil.

Furthermore, argan oil is loaded with antioxidant compounds, which help reduce oxidative stress on the body and improve overall body function, facilitating better management of diabetes symptoms.

Anticancer effects of argan oil

Argan oil is an effective combination of antioxidants and various bioactive compounds which are suggested to prevent cancer cell growth.

In vitro studies reveal that argan oil helps in inhibition of melanin synthesis and melanoma cell growth thus reducing the risk of skin cancer or melanoma. The main compound responsible for this beneficial effect is suggested to be tocopherol.

Argan oil constituents like sterols and polyphenols have also been found to inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer.  It also induces apoptosis (cell death) in the prostate cancer cell. However, more studies are still needed to ascertain the anti-cancer potential of this oil.

(Read more: Types of cancer)

Argan oil is both an edible and cosmetic oil. For the cosmetic purpose, it can be topically applied on skin and hair. In fact, it is one of the primary ingredients in a number of cosmetic products such as hair masks conditioners, face creams, moisturisers, serums.

You can consume this oil in the form of salad dressings. The nutty flavour of argan oil along with all its health benefits makes it worth every penny. However, deep frying in this oil should be avoided.

For therapeutic purpose, argan is best consumed in uncooked form. You can take15-30 gm (1-2 tablespoons) of argan oil per day, without worrying about any side effects.

Generally, toxicity of argan oil has not been reported so far. It is considered to be safe for both oral and topical use. However, it does have some side effects, especially when you are allergic to nuts. In such cases, topical use of argan oil may cause skin rashes. It may also give you an upset stomach if used in excess. 

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
Planet Ayurveda Anti Aging Face SerumPlanet Ayurveda Anti Aging Face Serum711.0
Planet Ayurveda Go Richh Hair ConditionerPlanet Ayurveda Go Richh Hair Conditioner495.0
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References

  1. Gérard Lizard, Younes Filali-Zegzouti, and Adil El Midaoui. Benefits of Argan Oil on Human Health—May 4–6 2017, Errachidia, Morocco. 2017 Jul; 18(7): 1383. PMID: 28657597
  2. Essouiri J, Harzy T, Benaicha N, Errasfa M, Abourazzak FE. Effectiveness of Argan Oil Consumption on Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.. 2017;13(3):231-235. PMID: 28699499
  3. Myasoedova E. Lipids and lipid changes with synthetic and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: implications for cardiovascular risk.. 2017 May;29(3):277-284. PMID: 28207495
  4. Bellahcen S, Mekhfi H, Ziyyat A, Legssyer A, Hakkou A, Aziz M, Bnouham M. Prevention of chemically induced diabetes mellitus in experimental animals by virgin argan oil.. 2012 Feb;26(2):180-5. PMID: 21584872
  5. Myra O. Villareal, Sayuri Kume, Thouria Bourhim, Fatima Zahra Bakhtaoui, Kenichi Kashiwagi, Junkyu Han, Chemseddoha Gadhi, and Hiroko Isoda. Activation of MITF by Argan Oil Leads to the Inhibition of the Tyrosinase and Dopachrome Tautomerase Expressions in B16 Murine Melanoma Cells. 2013; 2013: 340107. PMID: 23935660
  6. Bennani H, Drissi A, Giton F, Kheuang L, Fiet J, Adlouni A. Antiproliferative effect of polyphenols and sterols of virgin argan oil on human prostate cancer cell lines.. 2007;31(1):64-9. Epub 2006 Dec 13. PMID: 17174037
  7. Avsar U, Halici Z, Akpinar E, Yayla M, Avsar U, Harun U, Harun U, Hasan Tarik A, Bayraktutan Z. The Effects of Argan Oil in Second-degree Burn Wound Healing in Rats.. 2016 Mar;62(3):26-34. PMID: 26978857
  8. Tzu-Kai Lin, Lily Zhong and Juan Luis Santiago. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. 2018 Jan; 19(1): 70. PMID: 29280987
  9. Boucetta KQ, Charrouf Z, Aguenaou H, Derouiche A, Bensouda Y. The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity.. 2015 Jan 30;10:339-49. PMID: 25673976
  10. Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview. 2015 Jan-Mar; 7(1): 2–15.PMID: 25878443
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