Objectives: The therapeutic benefits of argan oil consumption have been claimed by natives of Morocco and explorers for more than eight centuries. However, argan oil has remained unresearched for a long time. Traditionally, argan oil has been well known for its cardioprotective properties and it is also used in the treatment of skin infections. Argan oil is principally composed of mono-unsaturated (up to 80%) and saturated (up to 20%) fatty acids. As minor components, it contains polyphenols, tocopherols, sterols, squalene, and triterpene alcohols. Together with the mono-unsaturated fatty acids, these minor components are likely to be responsible for its beneficial effects. This review aims to present an overview of the known pharmacological properties of argan oil.
Key findings: Antiproliferative, antidiabetic, and cardiovascular-protective effects of argan oil have been particularly actively evaluated over the last 5 years in order to build on phytochemical studies that indicate the presence of large amounts of possibly pharmacologically active compounds.
Summary: This review shows that a lack of clinical data constitutes a serious weakness in our knowledge about argan oil, therefore it is difficult to correlate the reported pharmacological activities to any potential clinical relevance.
© 2010 The Authors. JPP © 2010 Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.