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Argan Oil Research

Thermal Stability and Long-Chain Fatty Acid Pofsitional Distribution on Glycerol of Argan Oil

Farid Khallouki, Luisa Mannina, Stephane Viel and Robert W. Owen

Abstract: The primary aim of this study was to determine the oxidative stability of argan oils by using peroxides and conjugated diene hydroperoxides measurements as analytical indicators. Both food and cosmetic argan oils were investigated. Their oxidative stability was also determined by monitoring the relative changes of their fatty acid profiles by 1H NMR. In addition, valuable information regarding minor components as well as the acyl positional distribution, were obtained for both grades by high field 1H and 13C NMR, respectively. Given that the cosmetic and food grades have a similar profile and content of phenolic antioxidants, vitamers, and squalene, it appears that the ratio of fatty acid aliphatic to bisallylic CH2 groups, much higher in argan oils than in other vegetable oils, is responsible for their higher thermal stability.
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Secondary Metabolites from Argania spinosa

Zoubida Charrouf and Dominique Guillaume

Abstract: Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels is a tree that plays a crucial role in the rural and urban economy of Morocco. Not only is the tree used in traditional medicine but its fruits contain almonds used to prepare an edible oil, its leaves are utilized to feed cattle, and its wood is used as fuel. In addition the tree is particularly well-adapted to arid lands and could hence be used to limit the desert progression that is threatening subtropical African countries. Consequently a program aimed at a better understanding of all the aspects and uses of the argan tree is currently being carried out in Morocco. This review summarizes the results gathered so far on the phytochemical and pharmacological activity of A. spinosa.

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Influence of Origin and Extraction Method on Argan Oil Physico-Chemical Characteristics and Composition

Miloudi Hilali, Zoubida Charrouf, Abd El Aziz Soulhi, Larbi Hachimi and Dominique Guillaume


Abstract: Twenty-one samples of argan oil of different geographical origin (Tidzi, Tamanar, Benaiznassen, Ait mzal, Ait Baha, Ighrem, Aoulouz) and/or prepared following a different process (traditional, mechanical, or industrial) were collected and their physico-chemical properties analyzed. Sample acidity was found between 0.14 and 1.40%, unsaponifiable matter between 0.34 and 0.79%, saponification value between 180.0 and 199.6, highest peroxide index was 5.72 meq/kg, refractive index (20 °C) between 1.4644 and 1.4705, and UV absorption at 270 nm between 0.228 and 0.605. This study, carried out on randomly selected samples, clearly demonstrates that press extraction does not alter either the chemical composition of argan oil or its physico-chemical characteristics. It also demonstrates that press extraction respects the critical factors reported for traditionally prepared oils and necessary to obtain a beneficial effect on human health (a specific fatty acid balance and high tocopherol and sterol levels). In addition, this study should be useful for the establishment of a national quality standard.

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Clinical and Instrumental Study of the Efficacy of A New Sebum Control Cream

Hristo Dobrev, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract: Some botanical compounds are considered useful to reduce sebum production. Aim To evaluate the efficacy of a sebum control creamcontaining polyphenol-rich extract from saw palmetto, sesame seeds, and argan oil in subjects with oily facial skin. Methods The study was carried out during the winter months (January and February). A total of 20 healthy volunteers (9 male and 11 female, aged 17–50 years, 16 with oily skin and 4 with combined skin) were studied. The test product was applied twice daily to the face for a period of 4 weeks. A clinical assessment and instrumental measurements were done before and after the treatment period. Casual sebum level on the forehead and both cheeks was determined with a photometric device (Sebumeter®). The quantity of sebum on the midforehead was determined using sebum collector foils (Sebufix®), which were then evaluated with skin camera Visioscope® and software SELS (Surface Evalua- tion of the Living Skin). A subjective evaluation questionnaire regarding the cosmetic characteristics, tolerance, and efficacy of the product was filled out by the volunteers at the end of study. Results The product was very well accepted by all the volunteers. A visible sebum- regulating efficacy was reported in 95% of them. After 4 weeks of treatment, the clinical assessment scores decreased by 33%. There was a significant reduction in the casual sebum level by 20% and area covered with oily spots by 42%. The number of active sebaceous glands remained unaltered. Conclusion: These results objectively and quantitatively show the efficacy of the sebum control cream tested to reduce the greasiness and improve the appearance of oily facial skin.

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Colorimetric Evaluation of Phenolic Content and GC-MS Characterization of Phenolic Composition of Alimentary and Cosmetic Argan Oil and Press Cake

Luis B Rojas, Stephane Quideau, Patrick Pardon, and Zoubida Charrouf

Abstract: The global phenolic content of argan oil and press cake samples (alimentary and cosmetic) was evaluated using the Folin-Ciocalteu colorimetric method and the phenolic composition of argan oil (alimentary and cosmetic) and press cake (alimentary) samples were analyzed by GC-MS after extraction with 80:20 (v/v) methanol: water and silylation. Identification of chromatographic peaks was made by mass selective detection. Nineteen simple phenols were detected, 16 in press cake, 6 in the alimentary oil, and 7 in the cosmetic oil, among which 15 compounds [3-hydroxypyridine (3- pyridinol), 6-methyl-3-hydroxypyridine, catechol, resorcinol, 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol, vanillin, 4-hy- droxyphenylacetic acid, vanillyl alcohol, 3,4-dihydroxybenzyl alcohol, 4-hydroxy-3-meth-oxyphenethyl alcohol, methyl 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, hydroxytyrosol, protocatechuic acid, epicatechin, and catechin] were identified for the first time in such materials.

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Dietary Argan Oil Research

Tocopherols and Saponins Derived from Argania spinosa Exert, an Antiproliferative Effect on Human Prostate Cancer

A. Drissi, Ph.D., H. Bennani, Ph.D., F. Giton, M.Sc., Z. Charrouf, Ph.D., J. Fiet, M.D., and A. Adlouni, Ph.D.


Abstract: The aim of our study is to evaluate the antiproliferative effect of tocopherols obtained from alimentary virgin argan oil extracted from the endemic argan tree of Morocco and of saponins extracted from argan press cake on three human prostatic cell lines (DU145, LNCaP, and PC3). The results were compared to 2-methoxyestradiol as antiproliferative drug candidates. Cytotoxicity and antiproliferative effects were investigated after cells’ treatment with tocopherols and saponins compared to 2-Methoxyoestradiol as the positive control. Tocopherols and saponins extracted from argan tree and 2-methoxyestradiol exhibit a dose-response cytotoxic effect and an antiproliferative action on the tested cell lines. The best antiproliferative effect of tocopherols is obtained with DU145 and LNCaP cell lines (28 μg/ml and 32 μg/ml, respectively, as GI50 ). The saponins fraction displayed the best antiproliferative effect on the PC3 cell line with 18 μg/ml as GI50 . Our results confirm the antiprolifera-tive effect of 2-methoxyestradiol and show for the first time the antiproliferative effect of tocopherols and saponins extracted from the argan tree on hormone-dependent and hormone-independent prostate cancer cell lines. These data suggest that argan oil is of potential interest in developing new strategies for prostate cancer prevention.

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Secondary Metabolites of the Argan Tree (Morocco) May Have Disease Prevention Properties

F. Khallouki, B. Spiegelhalder, H. Bartsch and R. Owen


Abstract: The argan tree (Argania spinosa L. Skeels) is native to Morocco, where after the Holly oak it constitutes the second most common tree in the country. Recent studies suggest that dietary argan oil, an endemic seed oil from argan fruits, may have a relevant role in disease prevention, and its consumption could protect against atherosclerosis and cancer. Unfortunately, in less than a century, more than a third of the forest disappeared. It is therefore imperative to improve the tree's production potential so that it can regain its key position in the agricultural systems of the region. On the basis of ethnobotanical knowledge, researchers are screening metabolites of this rare plant to identify bioactive compounds for the development of new therapeutic agents and food supplements. This includes studies on secondary metabolites with chemopreventive activities. In this review, a complete outline of components (triglycerides, unsaponifiable, phenolic antioxidants and aroma constituents) are described. Finally, a dmscussion of the biological functions of the polar and non-polar A. spinosa products which have been evaluated using a range of in vitro bioassays are described.

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Phenolic-extract from Argan Oil (Argania spinosa L.) Inhibits Human Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) Oxidation and Enhances Cholesterol Efflux
from Human THP-1 Macrophages

Hicham Berrougui, Martin Cloutier, Maxim Isabelle and Abdelouahed Khalil

Abstract: Argan oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, tocopherol and phenolic compounds. These protective molecules make further study of its cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs) action interesting. Furthermore, no previous study has explored the antioxidant activity of argan oil in comparison with olive oil. The present study was conducted to evaluate the beneficial properties of Virgin argan oil phenolic extracts (VAO-PE) towards CVD by: (A) protect-ing human (low-density lipoprotein, LDL) against lipid peroxidation and (B) promoting high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-mediated cholesterol efflux. Human LDLs were oxidized by incubation with CuSO4 in the presence of different concentrations of VAO-PE (0–320μg/ml). LDL lipid peroxidation was eval-uated by conjugated diene and MDA formation as well as Vitamin E disappearance. Incubation of LDL with VAO-PE significantly prolonged the lag phase and lowered the progression rate of lipid peroxidation (P<0.01) and reduced the disappearance of Vitamin E in a concentration-dependent manner. Incubation of HDL with VAO-PE significantly increased the fluidity of the HDL phospholipidic bilayer (P=0.0004) and HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux from THP-1 macrophages. These results suggest that Virgin argan oil provides a source of dietary phenolic antioxidants, which prevent cardiovascular diseases by inhibiting LDL-oxidation and enhancing reverse cholesterol transport. These properties increase the anti-atherogenic potential of HDL.

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Nutritional Intervention Study with Argan Oil in Man: Effects on Lipids and Apolipoproteins

A. Derouichea, M. Cherkia, A. Drissia, Y. Bamoub, M. El Messalc, A. Idrissi-Oudghirib, J.M. Lecerf and A. Adlouni

Abstract: To evaluate whether the consumption of virgin argan oil (VAO) is associated with a change in serum lipids and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy Moroccans. Methods: Sixty volunteers consumed butter (25 g/day) during 2 weeks (stabilization period) and were randomly divided into two groups: the treatment group received 25 g/day of VAO during 3 weeks (intervention period), and the control group received 25 g/day of extra virgin olive oil (EVO). Throughout the study, weight, blood pressure, and daily food intake were measured. Serum total cholesterol and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins A-I and B were measured at the end of each diet period. Results: Analysis of food intake showed that the daily diet is isocaloric for the butter regimen (2,537 ± 244 kcal/day) as well as for the VAO and EVO regimens (2,561± 246 and 2,560 ± 253 kcal/day, respectively). Analysis of the lipid intake showed a reduction in saturated fatty acids with VAO and EVO regimens (27 ± 1.4 and 26.4 ± 3.4%, respectively) as compared with the stabilization period (41.6 ± 2.4%). The analysis of serum lipids showed a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I in both VAO group (8.4%, p = 0.012, and 5.2%, p = 0.027, respectively) and EVO group (17.3%, p = 0.001, and 5.9%, p = 0.036, respectively). However, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (13.8%, p = 0.037, and 7.8%, p = 0.039, respectively) decreased significantly only in EVO group as compared with the stabilization period, while triglycerides decreased significantly by 17.5% (p = 0.039) only in VAO group. Conclusion: These results confirm the cholesterol-lowering effect of EVO and show for the first time the triglyceride-lowering effect of VAO in men.

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Insulin-sensitizing and Anti-proliferative Effects of Argania spinosa Seed Extracts

Samira Samane, Josette Noel, Zoubida Charrouf, Hamid Amarouch and Pierre Selim Haddad

Abstract: Argania spinosa is an evergreen tree endemic of southwestern Morocco. Many preparations have been used in traditional Moroccan medicine for centuries to treat several illnesses including diabetes. How- ever, scientific evidence supporting these actions is lacking. Therefore, we prepared various extracts of the argan fruit, namely keel, cake and argan oil extracts, which we tested in the HTC hepatoma cell line for their potential to affect cellular insulin responses. Cell viability was measured by Trypan Blue exclusion and the response to insulin evaluated by the activation of the extracellular regulated kinase (ERK1/2), ERK kinase (MEK1/2) and protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) signaling components. None of the extracts demonstrated significant cytotoxic activity. Certain extracts demonstrated a bi-phasic effect on ERK1/2 activation; low doses of the extract slightly increased ERK1/2 activation in response to insulin, whereas higher doses completely abolished the response. In contrast, none of the extracts had any significant effect on MEK whereas only a cake saponin subfraction enhanced insulin-induced PKB/Akt activation. The specific action of argan oil extracts on ERK1/2 activation made us consider an antiproliferative action. We have thus tested other transformed cell lines (HT-1080 and MSV-MDCK-INV cells) and found similar results. Inhibition of ERK1/2 activation was also associated with decreased DNA synthesis as evidenced by [3H]thymidine incorporation experiments. These results suggest that the products of Argania spinosa may provide a new therapeutic avenue against proliferative diseases.

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Hypolipidemic and Hypocholesterolemic Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa L.) in Meriones Shawi Rats

H. Berrougui, A. Ettaib, M.D., Herrera Gonzalez, M Alvarez de Sotomayor, N. Bennani-Kabchi and M. Hmamouchi

Abstract: The potential health benefits of various dietary oils in relation to cardiovascular disease and cancer are recently receiving considerable attention. The main proposal of this study is to investigate the effect of dietary argan oil, obtained from seeds of Argania spinosa L. (Sapotaceae) endemic from Morocco, on serum lipids composition. Hyperlipidemia was induced by high calorie and cholesterol (HCC) diet administration in 16 rats (Meriones shawi, a rodent of the Gerbillideae family). Eight rats were treated with argan oil (1 ml/100 g weight) daily by oral route during 7 weeks (treated group). Control animals were also fed with HCC diet for 7 weeks. After 7-week treatment with argan oil, blood lipoproteins were significantly reduced. Total cholesterol decreased with 36.67% (P < 0.01), low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol in 67.70% (P < 0.001), trigly-cerides in 30.67% (P < 0.05) and body weight in 12.7% (P < 0.05). High density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol concentration remained unaltered. These results indicate the beneficial effect of argan oil in the treatment of the hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia. This effect will be related with the polyunsaturated fatty acids and other constituents of studied oil.

Evidence of Hypolipemiant and Antioxidant Properties of Argan Oil Derived from the Argan Tree (Argania spinosa)

Anas Drissia, Josefa Gironab, Mounia Cherkia, Gemma Godasb, Abdelfettah Derouiche, Mariame El Messal, Rachid Saile, Anass Kettania, Rosa
Solab, Luis Masanab and Ahmed Adlouni

Abstract: 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: Healthy subjects (20 men, 76 women) were studied. Sixty-two were regular consumers of argan oil and 34 were non-consumers. Methods: Fasting plasma lipids, antioxidant vitamins and LDL oxidation suscept- ibility were analyzed. 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 (8.871.0 vs. 6.670.9 g, Po0.05). Subjects consuming argan oil have lower levels of plasma LDL cholesterol (12.7%, Po0.05) and Lp(a) (25.3%, Po0.05) compared with the non-consumers. In argan oil consumers, plasma lipoperoxides were lower (58.3%, Po0.01) and molar ratio a-tocopherol/total cholesterol (21.6%, Po0.05) and a-tocopherol.

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Ethnoeconomical, Ethnomedical, and Phytochemical Study of Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels: A Review.

Zoubida Charrouf and Dominique Guillaume

Abstract: Populations of Morocco South-western part traditionally use the fruits of Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels to prepare an edible oil whose obtention also furnishes, as side product, a cake used to feed the cattle and complements the forage furnished by the leaves of this same plant. Unfortunately, the wood of Argania spinosa is also used for fuel and deforestation is subsequently accelerated since populations are generally eager to replace argan groves by cultures of higher and immediate benefit. However, argan tree, that is particularly well adapted to grow in arid lands, has been proposed by several agencies to slow down the desert progress in northern Africa. In order to incite the South-western Morocco dwellers to reintroduce argan trees, a program aimed to increase the industrial value of Argania spinosa, and beginning by its phytochemical study, is currently carried out in Morocco. The results of these recent studies together with previous knowledge are summarized in this review.

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Effect of Dietary Argan Oil on Fatty Acid Composition, Proliferation, and Phospholipase D Activity of Rat Thymocytes

Amal Benzaria, M.Sc., Nadia Meskini, Ph.D., Madeleine Dubois, Martine Croset, Ph.D., Georges NÃmoz, Ph.D., Michel Lagarde, Ph.D. and
Annie-France Prigent, Ph.D.

Abstact: Argan oil is receiving increasing attention due to its potential health benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular risk, but no information to date is available about its possible effect on immune cells and functions. Methods: To address this issue male rats were fed one of five diets that contained fish oil, argan oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil for 4 wk. The fatty acid composition of plasma and thymocyte lipids was then analyzed in relation to the mitogen-induced proliferation and phospho- lipase D (PLD) activity of thymocytes. Results: The 18:2â»-6 proportion in thymocyte phospholipids from rats fed argan oil was signifi- cantly lower than that observed in phospholipids from rats fed sunflower oil and fish oil but higher than that found in the olive oil and coconut oil groups. Further, a significant positive linear relation was found between thymocyte proliferation and the 18:2â»-6 proportion in thymocyte phospholipids, whatever the diet. The proliferation response of thymocytes to mitogenic activation was also inversely correlated to PLD activity measured in intact thymocytes. Subsequent western blotting experiments indicated that the diet-induced variations in PLD activity mainly reflected variations in the expression of PLD2 protein. Conclusions: On the whole, the present study shows that the effects of argan oil on immune cells are very similar to those of olive oil, and that, as a consequence, argan oil can be used as a balanced dietary supply without marked adverse effects on immune cell function.

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Antiproliferative Effect of Polyphenols and Sterols of Virgin Argan Oil on Human Prostate Cancer Cell Lines

H. Bennani, Ph.D., A. Drissi, Ph.D., F. Giton, msc, L. Kheuang, msc, J. Fiet, M.D., Ph.D. and A. Adlouni Ph.D.

Abstract: The aim of our study has to evaluate the antiproliferative effect of polyphenols and sterols extracted from the virgin argan oil on three human prostatic cell lines (DU145, LNCaP, and PC3). Methods: Cytotoxicity, antiproliferative effects and nuclear morphological changes of cells were analyzed after treatment with sterols and polyphenols. The results were compared to 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) as positive control. Results: Polyphenols and sterols of virgin argan oil and 2ME2 exhibited a dose-response cytotoxic effect and action on the three tested cell lines. The antiproliferative effect of polyphenols was similar for the DU145 and LNCaP cell lines; the GI50 (defined as the concentration inhibiting growth by 50% in comparison with the control) was respectively 73 and 70 mg/ml. The antiproliferative effect of sterols was 46 and 60 mg/ml as GI50 for the DU145 and LNCaP cell lines. For the PC3 cell line, the best antiproliferative effect was obtained by argan sterols with GI50 = 43 mg/ml. On the other hand, the nuclear morphology analyses have shown an increased proportion of pro-apoptotic of nuclei in LNCaP cell trea antiproliferative ted with IC50 of polyphenols or sterols compared to control cells. Our results show for the first time the antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of polyphenols and sterols extracted from virgin argan oil and confirm the antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of 2ME2 on prostate cancer cell lines. Conclusion: These data suggest that argan oil may be interesting in the development of new strategies for prostate cancer prevention.

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Consumption of Argan Oil (Morocco) with Its Unique Profile of Fatty Acids, Tocopherols, Squalene, Sterols and Phenolic Compounds Should Confer
Valuable Cancer Chemopreventive Effects

F. Khallouki, C. Younos, R. Soulimani, T. Oster1, Z. Charrouf, B. Spiegelhalder, H. Bartsch and R. Owen

Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the fatty acids, tocopherols, squalene, sterols and phenolic antioxidants in three types of argan oil (Moroccan food, Moroccan aesthetic and a French commercial variety) along with a basic comparison with extra virgin olive and sunflower oil. The fatty acid profiles in the argan oils were very similar, 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. with oleic acid (43%) and linoleic acid (36%) and their respective monoacylglycerols pre-dominating. The major vitamer identified was c-tocopherol with a mean of 483711 mg/kg, in contrast to a-tocopherol, which is the major vitamer in olive (19071 mg/kg) and sunflower oil (53276 mg/kg). The squalene content of the argan oils was very similar with a mean of 31374 mg/100 g, which is lower than that of the olive oil (499 mg/100 g) but significantly higher than in the sunflower oil (6 mg/100 g). In contrast to olive and sunflower oils in which b-sitosterol is predominant, the major sterols detected in the argan oils were schottenol (mean 147710 mg/kg) and spinasterol (mean 122710 mg/kg). The only phenolic compounds other than the tocopherol vitamers which could be readily detected and quantitated were vanillic, syringic and ferulic (probably conjugated to glucose) acids along with tyrosol.

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Argan oil: Which benefits on Cardiovascular Diseases?

Mounia Cherki, Hicham Berrougui, Anas Drissi, Ahmed Adlouni anda Abdelouahed Khalil

Abstract: The argan oil, extracted from argan-tree fruits, has been known for its various pharmacological properties and used as a natural remedy since several centuries. In this review, we present a summary of the results obtained from a survey of the literature on argan oil. Data synthesis: Various studies conducted in vitro or on human and animal models suggest that argan oil could play a beneficial role in cardiovascular diseases prevention and its consumption could protect against atherosclerosis and cancer via a variety of biological mechanisms. Conclusion: Argan oil reduces cardiovascular risk and may be used as anti-atherogenic oil.

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Best Quality Argan Oil

Amal Oils offers the highest quality argan oil products on the market. This pure argan oil, derived from the highest quality argan nuts in southwestern Morocco, is sought after for its anti-aging and protective qualities that are unlike any other cosmetic product. Argan Oil has been used for centuries by Moroccan women to reduce signs of aging and improve skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.