Argan Oil Galax VA
International Society of Sports Nutrition
Ms. Michelle K Berman, MS, RD
Other, Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Healthy Aging, Guided Imagery, Functional Medicine, Family Practice, Bio-identical HRT
American Holistic Medical Association
Internal Medicine, Nutrition
Medical School: Va Commonwealth Univ, Med Coll Of Va Sch Of Med, Richmond Va 23298
Graduation Year: 1968
Deborah Jeffrey, RD, LD
Nutritionist, Mental Health Professional, Osteopath (DO)
Virginia Beach, VA
Acupressure, Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Breathwork, Chiropractors, Colon Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, EFT / TFT, EMDR, Energy Healing, Guided Imagery, Hypnotherapy, Iridology, Lymphatic Therapy, Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release, Nutrition, Past Life Regression, Psychotherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Sound Therapy, Spiritual Counseling, Therapeutic Touch, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tui Na, Water Therapy, Wellness Centers
Women's Health, Supplements, Sports Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Pediatrics, Nutrition, Metabolic Medicine, Men's Health, Herbal Medicine, Functional Medicine, Fitness/Exercise, Family Practice, Endocrinology
American Holistic Medical Association
Trout Dale, VA
Bioidentical Hormones, Chelation Therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Integrative Medicine, Neurofeedback, NHRT, Nutrition, Wellness Centers
Medical School: Tulane Univ Sch Of Med, New Orleans La 70112
Graduation Year: 1962
Hospital: Medical College Of Virginia Ho, Richmond, Va
Group Practice: Mcv Associated Physicians
By Jennie Lay
Just inland from southwest Morocco’s long, sandy Atlantic coast near Essaouira, the arid landscape turns rocky and red with a sparse forest of gnarled and thorny argan trees. In this native Berber region, gravity-defying goats clamber among branches to forage for fruit and leaves. Local women gather the green, olive-like fruit of the argan tree for the nuts, which they laboriously crack open so they can roast and grind the lipid-rich kernels to produce some of the world’s most prized and rare oil.
Argan trees grow nowhere else—a fact that prompted UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) to declare about 6.4 million acres of this rural stretch an international biosphere reserve. And The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity has established an argan oil presidium to help guarantee the future production of this traditional artisan food. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, argan oil is used in cooking, traditional medicine, and cosmetics.
Zoubida Charrouf, PhD, a chemistry professor at Mohamed V University in Rabat, is Morocco’s champion of the argan tree and of the emancipating women’s co-ops that have grown out of argan oil production. She found that argan oil is twice as rich as olive oil in the antioxidant vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and is less sensitive to oxidation than olive oil, which means it has a longer shelf life. Other studies have shown that consumption of argan oil—with its unique profile of fatty acids, tocopherols, squalene, sterols, and phenolic compounds—enhances cancer prevention and that eating virgin argan oil lowers LDL cholesterol and helps reduce cardiovascular risk.
Roadside, the women’s co-ops proudly display rows of bottles containing hand-harvested argan oil alongside argan beauty products scented with the likes of neroli or lemon verbena. The nutrient-rich argan oil has anti-aging effects and is often used for massage and facials and in aftershave, soaps, and hair conditioning products. Traditionally, Berbers use it topically to cure acne, stretch marks, dry skin, scars, and rheumatic pain.
In the kitchen, Berbers pour a few drops of deep golden argan oil into warm couscous or over a tagine. Another especially tasty way to enjoy its rich and exotic nutty flavor: Drizzle it over a salad of fresh arugula, avocado, and juicy pomegranate seeds. Amlou, a scrumptious mixture of ground almonds, honey, and argan oil, makes a delicious dip for bread.
You can purchase argan oil in specialty shops or online; a 250 ml bottle costs $30 to $35. A little goes a long way—in culinary enjoyment, in bolstering a prosperous women’s industry, and in protecting the existence of a valuable endemic tree.
Jennie Lay is a freelance writer who lives near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She recently traveled to the Moroccan argan oil co-ops to visit with Berber women and learn about their craft.
Author: Jennie Lay
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