The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an organ system in vertebrates that is part of the immune system, and complementary to the circulatory system. It consists of a large network of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymphatic or lymphoid organs, and lymphoid tissues.
Maintains fluid levels in your body: As just described, the lymphatic system collects excess fluid that drains from cells and tissue throughout your body and returns it to your bloodstream, which is then recirculated through your body.
Absorbs fats from the digestive tract: Lymph includes fluids from your intestines that contain fats and proteins and transports it back to your bloodstream.
Protects your body against foreign invaders: The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It produces and releases lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that monitor and then destroy the foreign invaders — such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi — that may enter your body.
Transports and removes waste products and abnormal cells from the lymph.
To keep your lymphatic system strong and healthy, you should:
Specialised lymphatic drainage massage to promote drainage of the lymphatic system is a great way to clear up a congested lymphatic system and get fluid flowing. The massage relieves swelling and pain, improves the immune system, cleanses the tissues of wastes, and gently enhances the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body.
Ensure you avoid processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, and preservatives to reduce your chances of lymphatic congestion.
Incorporating a regular detox cleanse that is supported by liver enzymes will ease the stress on your liver and kidneys and lessen the stress on your body as it deals with toxins from what you eat.
1. Leafy Greens
Chlorophyll, the green nutrient that captures sunlight, has powerful cleansing properties and beneficial effects on lymph fluid[i]. Ensure a good intake of dark greens for chlorophyll like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, barley grass, turnip greens, dandelion leaves, broccoli, and mustard greens. You can also take chlorophyll supplementally.
Garlic can kill harmful microbes and it improves circulation and the cleansing of toxins[ii]. Try allicin supplementally.
Ginger has beneficial effects on digestion and circulation, two systems that are connected directly to the lymphatic system. It’s important to consume ginger on a regular basis for the best results. Turmeric is related to ginger. It helps reduce inflammation and improves circulation to support the processes of the lymphatic system. [iii].
4. Citrus and seaweed
Citrus fruits aid carry powerful antioxidants and enzymes and help protect the lymphatic system. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices of all sorts will deliver more hydration, enzymes, and antioxidants to the body[iv]. Sea vegetables help the body detox and reduce fluid build-up in tissues which slows the lymphatic system[v]. Try adding this superfood complex containing seaweed and chlorella, to your daily juice.
Using herbs is a popular way to naturally purify your lymphatic system.
Herbs that Promote Lymphatic Drainage:
Cleavers (Galium aparine):
Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold)
Astragalus (astragalus membranaceus):
Dandelion (Taraxacm officinale):
If you are taking medications, please consult with your doctor, or talk to us about potential herb interactions with medications.
Lymphatic dysfunction means the lymphatic system is functioning poorly. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes and lymph vessels that drain fluids from your body’s tissues.
The fluids carry toxins, immune cells, and waste products to your lymph nodes. Lymph vessels help maintain fluid balance in the body by returning filtered lymph fluid back to the bloodstream.
A poorly working lymphatic system causes tissues to become swollen with fluid. This commonly results in swelling in the arms or legs.
If you experience fatigue (extreme tiredness) or have unexplained swelling that lasts more than a few weeks or interferes with your daily activities.
In those with lymphedema a variety of exercises are recommended to help manage the condition:
[i] Kim J, Gousopoulos E, Faleschini TM, Hamburger M, Potterat O, Detmar M. Pheophorbide a identified in an Eupatorium perfoliatum extract is a novel lymphatic vascular activator. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Mar;147:112664
[ii] Liu CT, Su HM, Lii CK, Sheen LY. Effect of supplementation with garlic oil on activity of Th1 and Th2 lymphocytes from rats. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(3):205-10.
[iii] Chakraborty B, Sengupta M. Boosting of nonspecific host response by aromatic spices turmeric and ginger in immunocompromised mice. Cell Immunol. 2012 Nov;280(1):92-100.
[iv] Ferreira PS, Spolidorio LC, Manthey JA, Cesar TB. Citrus flavanones prevent systemic inflammation and ameliorate oxidative stress in C57BL/6J mice fed high-fat diet. Food Funct. 2016 Jun 15;7(6):2675-81.
[v] Tian T, Chang H, He K, Ni Y, Li C, Hou M, Chen L, Xu Z, Chen B, Ji M. Fucoidan from seaweed Fucus vesiculosus inhibits 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene-induced atopic dermatitis. Int Immunopharmacol. 2019 Oct;75:105823.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.