(NaturalNews) Argan oil. It's all the rage among those who treasure flawless skin and glossy hair. But the advantages of the oil aren't just skin deep -- numerous health benefits have also been discovered within the scientific community. Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, argan oil just may be a one stop beauty and health remedy rolled into one.
Extracted by hand from the fruit of the argan tree which grows in Morocco, the oil counteracts dry skin, heals acne and helps fight the signs of aging. The secret? Potent antioxidants protect against free radicals and sun damage, while both oleic and linoleic acid support healthy sebum levels and cellular turnover -- important factors for those contending with acne, eczema or psoriasis. Considered a "dry oil," argan is absorbed readily into the skin, thereby assisting with moisture retention without feeling greasy or clogging pores. Sterolins in the oil also improve skin metabolism and reduce inflammation.
What's more, the oil adds shine to dull and lifeless hair, soothes scalp dryness and flaking, seals split ends and subdues unruly hair. And yet, the benefits of argan oil extend far beyond the cosmetic -- taken internally, the oil is just as impressive in its healing capabilities.
A traditional food in Morocco used as a dipping oil for bread or drizzled over couscous, argan oil has a unique, nutty flavor. But it's much more than just a delicious culinary condiment. As reported by Katherine East in the article, "Live Naturally: The Benefits of Argan Oil":
"Argan oil contains rare plant sterols (schottenol and spinasterol), not found in other oils. It is believed that these phytosterols are unique in their combination and that there are no other vegetable oils with a comparable phytosterol composition. In general phytosterols reduce inflammation and help block cholesterol absorption from the intestines. They also show anti-cancer properties."
Preliminary studies also suggest that argan has comparable health benefits as olive oil. According to the Wall Street Journal:
"Published in 2005 in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Moroccan researchers fed 60 male student nurses either olive oil or argan oil with toast for breakfast for three weeks. At the end of the study period, blood samples were taken and both oils worked about equally to stimulate activity of an enzyme believed to protect against oxidative damage that can lead to heart disease."
And this study found that argan oil taken in combination with fish oil helps to modulate insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in test animals, which is encouraging news for those struggling with diabetes. Moreover, argan oil holds promise in reducing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory attributes.
Argan oil can be found in an assortment of beauty creams, lotions and shampoos, as well as in a liquid, edible form. To preserve the cultural heritage behind the oil, it's important to source varieties that are sustainably grown and traditionally extracted by fair trade cooperatives.
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.