Friday, 26 August 2011

Amazing Argan Oil

If you’ve holidayed in Morocco, you may have seen goats happily clambering up the indigenous Argan Tree and, perhaps even unknowingly, you’ll have enjoyed eating it too - introducing amazing Argan Oil!

Another of nature’s wonder raw materials, Argan Oil has both dietary health and organic skincare benefits and is one of those natural ingredients that should grace both our kitchen and our bathroom shelves.

It is used as liberally in Moroccan cooking as Olive Oil is used in Italy, France & Spain – and is equally delicious, nourishing and contains lots of lovely health benefits too! Its high natural Vitamin E contentmeans it can help protect the body against heart disease& can help lower cholesterol; and thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also ease the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism.

As well as numerous health benefits, its nutty taste means it tastes delicious and it makes a lovely salad dressing and is lovely when drizzled over grilled vegetables. But not only should you add a bottle of Organic Argan oil to your kitchen cupboard, you should also make sure your natural skincare bathroom shelf contains products that contain this amazing natural and organic raw material and here’s why…

Argan Oil (or ArganiaSpinosa as you’ll see it on a skincare list of natural & organic ingredients) has been used for centuries by Moroccan women who use it to soothe & nourish their skin and hair. More recently its anti-ageing properties have been well documented as it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, strengthen our skin’s elasticity and improve overall radiance. These anti-ageing properties are due to the oil being rich in essential fatty acids (Omega 6 & 9) & antioxidants.

I’ve written before about the importance of Omega Oils 3, 6 & 9 in skincare and this can really help prevent our skin from losing moisture; Omega 6 helps keep skin supple, soft & helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. Its high levels of naturally occurring Vitamin E act as an important antioxidant that help protect the skin against harmful environmental factors (often referred to as ‘harmful free radicals’) that can cause our skin to age prematurely.

It’s a very soft oil that is mild and gentle and therefore suitable for use on sensitive skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties mean that topical application of products containing Natural and Organic Argan Oil, can help calm, sooth and treat inflamed, red and irritated skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it an important natural raw material for use in organic body creams, lotions and massage oils as it can help reduce pain & swelling and simultaneously stimulates circulation; so it’s great for helping to relieve things like stiff joints, sore muscles and swellings. These anti-inflammatory properties combined with Argan oil’s softness and suitability for use on sensitive skins; make it an ideal natural and organic ingredient for face oils and eye creams.

With all these skincare and health benefits, it will come as no surprise to learn that Organic Argan oil graces the shelves of both my kitchen and my natural skincare laboratory – which is why it is an essential ingredient in my Repair & Renew natural face oil, Bright Eyes organic eye cream; and my Grilled Aubergine and Feta Cous Cous Salad!

Grilled Aubergine and Feta Cous Cous Salad
I thought I’d share my recipe with you – it’s actually less of a recipe and more like throwing together some lovely fresh ingredients which is why the quantities are quite vague – just add the items to suit your taste buds!

For the Cous Cous...

150gms cous cous
Juice of 2, 3 or 4 lemons
Small bunch of spring onions
Bunch of Fresh mint
Bunch of Fresh parsley
Packet of Feta Cheese (organic if possible)
Some lovely black or green olives
Some lovely ripe organic tomatoes

Grilled Aubergine slices...

A good glug of Organic Argan Oil
Sea Salt Flakes
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper

Tip the cous cous into a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over the cous cous and leave the grains to swell for about 30 – 45 minutes. In the meantime roughly chop the spring onions, parsley, mint and tomatoes and olives. Slice the augergines lengthways and drizzle with oil and cook on a hot griddled pan.

Once the cous cous has swollen, fluff up the grains with a fork to separate them. Add the chopped herbs, vegetables & olives. Crumble in enough Feta to suit your taste, season with salt (you won’t need much as the Feta is quite salty), black pepper and a pinch of Cayenne. Add a glug of Argan Oil and mix well.

Serve with the grilled Aubergine slices – delicious!

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