Publié par happy-diet mercredi 17 mars 2010


Argania spinosa


The Sapotaceae are, in general, plants of tropical regions. We know the sapote and sapodilla (genus Pouteria and Sapota (or Achras)), two typical fruits of tropical America and the Caribbean. The caïmite Caribbean (genus Chrysophyllum), small fruit astringent, stomachic and antidiabetic. In Africa, two SAPOTACEAE, shea (Vitellaria) and argan trees are particularly important. Both protect against soil erosion and desertification and oleaginous fruits provide the basis for a small local industry (shea butter (butter shee) and argan oil). Argan, Argania spinosa, is found mainly in the south-west of Morocco, is a species surviving from a time when this region was much wetter. The argan forest covers about 800 000 hectares in the Atlantic and the Rif in the Souss valley.

This tree, with its highly developed root system and associated mycorrhizae, survives under conditions of chronic drought and poor soils, rocky, often uncultivable.
For agronomists the Moroccan argan tree is irreplaceable in the fight against land degradation and desertification progressive southern Morocco.

Unfortunately, the argan tree is inexorably destroyed by humans: uncontrolled logging for charcoal or firewood, deforestation and grubbing for developing industrial crops, overgrazing by herds of goats that climb trees to eat leaves and fruit.

The argan tree is very thorny, trunk often twisted, light green foliage is abundant but falls in a period of severe drought, fruit, numerous, green and brown like little olives. The fruit contains a core, light brown, containing several "amendons" flattened.


The leaves of the argan tree are rich in phenolic compounds, flavonoids, tannins with anti-inflammatory and free radical scavengers.

The leaves contain very little essential oil (0.03 to 0.05%). --

All other parts of the tree, including fruit, contain saponins (saponins), which were recently studied in depth by a Franco-Moroccan.

It has been demonstrated that some of these saponins were:

* Antifungal at concentrations between 12.5 and 50 micrograms per ml of culture medium
* Molluscicides with respect to Biomphalaria glabrata
* Analgesic and anti-inflammatory probably by modifying or inhibiting the release of cytokines and leukotrienes, which are primarily responsible for inflammation and pain that accompanies it.

The acute toxicity of each type of saponin has not been determined, but overall, rats or mice, the oral LD50 is 1.3 g / kg. For chronic toxicity: 200 to 300 mg / kg daily for 3 months, resulting in impaired glucose and impaired kidney functioning.

The argan tree is best known for argan oil is extracted from the kernel of its fruit. The kernel (the amendons) contains about 50% body fat, extracting pressure sometimes after slight roasting in the extraction of traditional argan oil.

Simplified average composition of argan oil, according to the website cooperative Targanine (, compared to olive oil:

* Palmitic acid 12 to 13% (olive oil 7.5 to 20%)
* Stearic acid 5 to 7% (olive oil 1 to 3%)
* Oleic acid 43 to 49% (olive oil 56 to 85%)
* Linoleic acid from 29 to 36% (olive oil 3.5 to 20%)

0.5 to 1% of unsaponifiables (120 to 130 mg of sterols and 60 to 90 mg of tocopherol per 100g of oil and triterpene alcohols 130-180 mg per 100g of oil)

Argan oil contains no cake, but saponin extraction contains about 0.5%.

Saponins meal extraction of argan oil properties have an interesting perspective Cosmetic: antioxidant protection against ultraviolet B, anti-acne.


The argan tree is a tree with multiple uses. The wood is of good quality and strong (thanks in part to the saponins it contains (6%)), leaves and fruit of the argan tree are food for goats, sheep and camels, the kernel of the fruit provides the Argan oil, quality food and cosmetics; meal extraction of argan oil serves as food for cattle.

Argan oil is traditionally extracted after mild roasting almonds, then it has a nutty flavor and amber color.
By its composition of fatty acids, argan oil is an oil of excellent quality diet, which now finds its place in international cuisine.

Argan oil is traditional cosmetics but may be preferred for this use, the oil extracted without prior roasting. The argan oil, extra virgin, cold-extracted, is a protective skin, which softens the skin, prevents skin dryness.
The content of vitamin E (tocopherol) of argan oil can be used to help fight against free radicals in the party responsible for aging skin.

Over the past ten years, Moroccan women (especially Berbers) were associated in cooperatives (cooperatives Targanine) to extract and sell as a community of argan oil. It is a socio-economic success, the women share the money equally, they are released and the oppressive guardianship of their husbands.

The Moroccan authorities, including the king, promote the action of these Berber women by encouraging the creation of new cooperatives and extraction units of argan oil.

It is easily found in trade argan oil food grade or cosmetic. Moroccan cooperatives also sell directly to the argan oil and products containing it.

There are many cosmetic preparations containing argan oil (skin protection, skin care in general and particularly for dry, damaged skin, moisturizers).

The saponins of the argan tree is not yet to my knowledge, used in herbal medicines.

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