Alan Howell Essential Oils


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Essential Oils

By Alan Howell


Argan oil is the nut oil of the Argan tree, which grows in south west Morocco and is currently endangered and under UNESCO protection. The Egyptian botanist and physicist Ibn AI Bay tar first documented its health properties in the 13th century and nowadays it is widely used by the local population for cooking and to soothe dry skin, acne, chicken pox and to prevent stretch marks., it has numerous cosmetic and medicinal properties:

• It has twice as much vitamin E as olive oil and is rich in anti-oxidants, which help neutralise free radicals and prevent skin damage.

• It is 80% unsaturated and contains eight essential fatty acids including Omega 6, which can't be produced by the body. It helps prevent loss of moisture from the skin, nose, lungs, digestive system and brain. EFAs also help the formation of prostaglandins, some of which reduce pain and swelling and others improve circulation and lower cholesterol

levels and blood pressure.

• It contains rare plant sterols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help conditions such as            arthritis.

• It contains saponins, which soften the skin and ease acne and eczema and it restores the skin's water lipid       layer, helping to minimise wrinkles.

• It can help protect the heart, liver and gall bladder.

• It aids digestion by increasing the amount of peptin in digestive fluids.

• It's reputed to be an aphrodisiac.

Fatty  Composition of Argan Oil:

How is it made?

The oil comes from the nuts of the tree, which are cracked by hand and the seed extracted and ground into a paste/oil. It is traditionally made by local Berber women who work in cooperatives and it can take 10 -12 hours to produce one litre of oil.

Getting the benefits:

Eat it - Argan oil, crushed almonds and honey is a traditional south Moroccan breakfast recipe known as Amlou. It tastes a bit like peanut butter and is delicious with toast or as a dip for bread. The oil itself tastes great with vegetables, salad, fish and meat dishes, couscous and porridge.

On your skin - locals use it to help maintain younger looking skin and softer hair. Argan products are widely sold online and are often mixed with essential oils such as lavender or rose. Try rubbing the oil into your hair and rinsing out after half an hour for a deep conditioning treatment or rub a small amount into your skin and nails to soften and strengthen them.

Argan & other oils :

Do other oils have linoleic acid and vitamin E? Yes. Such oils as almond, grape seed, and even olive naturally include linoleic acid and vitamin E to various degrees; but not in the same high concentration. Argan oil contains 73 mg per 100 gm . Nor do they contain the rare sterols. These other oils have a much shorter shelf life, as their percentage of vitamin E, a natural preservative, is much lower. To combat the loss of vitamin E many cosmetic companies will add acids (such as acetic acid) to prolong the life of the vitamin E. Unfortunately, the antioxidant properties, which are the fundamental reason why vitamin E is so beneficial, are reduced or even destroyed when these acids are added

Some Scientific Papers on Argan Oil

• Evidence of hypolipemiant and antioxidant properties of argan oil derived from the argan tree (Argania spinosa). Personal Authors: Anas Drissi, Girona, J., Mouni Cherki, Godas, G., Abdelfettah Derouiche, EIMessal, M., Rachid Saile, Anass Kettani, Sola, R., Masana, L., Ahmed Adlouni Author Affiliation: Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Lipoproteines, Faculte des Sciences Ben M'sik,  B.P. 7955 Sidi Othman, Casablanca, Morocco. Editors: No editors

Document Title: Clinical Nutrition, 2004 (Vol. 23) (No.5) 1159-1166

Abstract: Background: Virgin argan oil is of interest in cardiovascular risk prevention due to its fat composition and antioxidant compounds. Aims: We investigated with Moroccan subjects the effect of regular virgin argan oil consumption on lipid profile and antioxidant status and the in vitro effect of argan oil minor compounds (tocopherols, sterols and polyphenols) on LDL peroxidation. Design: The study was conducted in a rural community in southwest Morocco among 96 healthy subjects (20 men, 76 women), of whom 62 were regular consumers of argan oil and 34 were non-consumers [date not given]. Methods: Fasting plasma lipids, antioxidant vitamins, and LDL oxidation susceptibility were analysed. In vitro LDL oxidation by phenolic and apolar compounds of virgin argan oil were performed. Results: Diet composition of argan oil consumers has a higher significant content of polyunsaturated fatty acids than that of non-consumers (8.8±1.0 vs. 6.6±o.9 g, P<o.OS). Subjects consuming argan oil have lower levels of plasma LDL cholesterol (12.7%, P<o.Os) and Lp(a) (2S.3%, P<o.OS) compared with the non-consumers. In argan oil consumers, plasma lipoperoxides were lower (S8.3%, P<O.01) and molar ratio atocopherol/ total cholesterol (21.6%, P<o.Os) and a-tocopherol concentration (13.4%, P<o.Os) were higher compared with the non-consumers group. In spite of

higher levels of plasma antioxidant and lower levels of Iipoperoxides in argan oil consumers, LDL oxidation susceptibility remained fairly similar. A strong positive correlation was observed between increasing phenolic extract, sterol and tocopherol concentrations, and the LDL-Lag phase (P<o.OS).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest for the first time that regular consumption of virgin argan oil induces a lowering of LDL cholesterol and has antioxidant properties. This oil offers an additional natural food to reducing cardiovascular risk.

Here are some other the scientific papers on the web.

Just paste the links into your browser:

• Antiproliferative effect of polyphenols and sterols of

virgin argan oil on human prostate cancer cell lines;QmJarticle5J~8ntiproliferative%2oeffect%2oof%20polyphenols%2oandio2ost


• Argan oil: Which benefits on cardiovascular disease


• Consumption of argan oil (Morocco) with its unique profile of

• fatty acids, tocopherols, squalene, sterols and phenolic

• compounds should confer valuable cancer chemopreventive

• effects!Cancer%2ochemopreventive%2oeffects%2oof%2oarg


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