“I’ve spent the last 30 years studying (lymphatics). Without question, taking the steps necessary to clean the lymph system so it operates at optimum efficiency is the missing link in the quest for health.” Harvey Diamond, co-author of Fit for Life
What is the Function of Your Lymph System?
1. DETOX: The lymph system is made up of hundreds of lymph nodes, and the lymphatic vessels that connect them. It includes the bone marrow, the spleen, thymus gland, adenoids, and tonsils.
The primary function of the lymphatic system is to clean and transport lymph throughout the body. Fluid from the lymph system bathes the cells of the body, and then carries the cell waste into the blood. You actually have twice as much lymph fluid in your body as blood! This is a measure of its importance…
This wastes removed are normal cell waste, and toxins from cigarettes, drugs, pollutants, food additives, pesticides, etc. Once in the blood, these wastes can be filtered by the kidneys and liver, two of the body’s main detoxification organs.
2. FIGHTING DISEASE: The lymph system creates and transports white blood cells to and from the the bones. The lymphatic fluid thus contains infection-fighting white blood cells, which help protect our tissues from disease.
The largest concentration of lymph tissue in the body surrounds the intestines. Called gut-associated lymphatic tissue, or GALT, this tissue is the guardian of this largest gateway through the body’s defenses. It actively separates desirable nutrients from undesirable pathogens, and helps mount a defense whenever needed. This is part of the reason that 80% of your immune system lies in this area.
A properly functioning lymphatic system is crucial to your body’s ability to ward off disease, and to heal from injury.
A poorly functioning lymphatic system contributes to many health problems. This is because toxins are not carried away, and build up in the body. Fluid may build up in the tissues and cause lymphedema. Other lymphatic system problems can include infections, blockages, and cancer.
Natural health practitioners have suggested that a slow lymph system plays a role in the following:
- Hodgkin’s disease: type of cancer of the lymphatic system
- Tonsillitis: infection of the tonsils
- Glandular fever: tender lymph nodes can be one of the symptoms
Natural Ways to Improve Lymph Flow
Techniques are offered by herbalists, massage therapists, doctors, and other healers to improve the flow of lymphatic fluid:
- Dry skin brushing before a shower using a natural bristle brush
- Gentle massage to free trapped toxins and move stagnant lymph through the lymphatic system
- Drinking herbal teas that help lymph flow eg. goldenseal, pokeroot, astragalus or echinacea tea
- Eating green vegetables. Chlorophyll is used to help purify lymph and blood.
- Adding fatty acids to your diet in the form of raw, unsalted seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, macadamias, or hazelnuts. Don’t forget to soak them for 24 hours, and then you can oven or sun-dry them if you wish.
- Exercise helps move fluid through the lymphatic system. Experts recommend mini-trampoline rebounding, as well as aerobic exercise and stretching.
- Breathing deeply. The pumping action of deep breathing helps move lymph through the system.
- Avoiding soda, sports drinks and over-sugared juices
- Drinking plenty of water. This helps the lymph system move along well.
- Eating raw fruit, preferably on an empty stomach. Fruit contains acids and enzymes that are excellent lymph cleaners, and an empty stomach helps ensure good digestion.