Argan Oil, The Benefits, The Process: The Small Token Experience

I returned to Morocco earlier this year to kick start A Small Token before starting a new consulting contract. My goal was to reestablish the company as a handmade home and fashion accessories provider. The vision for A Small Token is to spotlight the artisans that create the products and to excite our customers about the cultures we procure the products from. Morocco was our destination for 2016.

Everything from the food, the people and the music was intoxicating for me. I was tipsy but not drunk and was looking forward to drinking more! We decided to get a tour guide to guide us through the souks. The souks are a magical marketplace in Marrakech where you could easily get lost in all the alleyways and corners. Within the souks you find all sorts of handmade wares. There is a souk for leather and another for silk. You can find vendors selling all sorts of handmade items. The infectious energy of Marrakech was opening the eyes of my heart to the culture for the second time. (Our first journey was in 2005.) I fell in love with Marrakech all over again. As we toured the souks and talked to the different vendors and artisans, we stumbled upon argan oil. It originally never occurred to me to purchase oil in bulk for resale but I could not help it once our hosts explained the 6 step process to purify the oil.

Initial oil extraction.

We got in a car with a handsome driver who played Moroccan house music in the car and we vibed to the music with the windows down as he maneuvered the car like a professional driver. He took us a few miles out of the city to the location where the oil is purified.

Upon arriving at the property, we observed goats and acres of argan trees. The goats even climb the trees and eat the argan nuts. Our hosts gave us a tour of the factory and the traditional Moroccan home on the property.

Here is what we learned about the six step process:

1. De-Shell — first someone has to manually extract the nut from its shell.

2. The good from the bad nuts are separated. The good nuts continue through the purification process.

The chemist will separate the good quality nuts from the bad ones.

1. The nuts are placed in the funnel to extract the oil and the paste.

2. The chemist extracts the impurities from the oil. The oil is further refined and filtered 3 times before it is packaged for sale. The paste is used to make soap.

3. After the oil purification process, the oil sits for 10 days to settle.

4. After the oil settles it is bottled and labeled. 100% pure.

This is argan paste that is extracted from the nut. This is used to make the argan soap.

After witnessing the purification process firsthand, my colleagues and I felt compelled to offer this amazing oil to our clients. The oil is available in unscented, eucalyptus, jasmine, verbena, orange, grapefruit, and lavender fragrances. The scented versions of the oil are pure unscented argan oil infused with essential oil scents. Argan oil is easily absorbed into the skin and is an excellent moisturizer for the hair as well. Coupled with essential oils provides even greater benefits.

Below are some of the benefits however there is so much more!

1. Eucalyptus has been known to be great for cuts, burns and protecting open wounds from infection. For massage oil, it is great after an intense exercise workout.

2. Jasmine has been known to be useful for helping to ease spasms, congestion, ease cramps as well as enhance the libido.

3. Verbena has been known to be high in antioxidants and is great to reduce joint pain.

4. Orange has been known to assist with erectile dysfunction, used as an antiseptic, as a diuretic, an antidepressant, and to treat constipation.

5. Grapefruit is good for treating oily skin and for acne, removing toxins, reducing blood pressure, increasing the appetite and stimulating the brain.

6. Lavender has been known to be useful for respiratory infections, aids in sleeping and as a disinfectant for the scalp or skin. It is also a great in easing the pain associated with bug bites or used as a bug repellent.

7. Argan oil is high in vitamins E and has been said to have healing properties. Whether the argan oil is unscented or infused with an essential oil, it absorbs quickly into the skin or hair providing excellent moisture. It is great for dry skin and good for the lips. There is a culinary version with a nutty flavor that can be used for cooking. The argan soap has been rumored to be good for vaginal health.

If you are interested in sampling pure argan oil, email lisa@asmalltoken.com.

Oil and other products are available at www.asmalltoken.com.

All photos were done by Kyle Felton Photography.

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