Love Your Lymph

Give your body a breath of fresh air by cleansing this vital but often-overlooked system.

| September/October 2005

  • Getting the lymphatic system flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved feelings of well-being.
  • Pokeroot helps improve lymph flow, but it can be toxic, so the herb should be used with caution.
    Steven Foster
  • Wild indigo cleans the lymph system and reduces swelling in the lymph glands.
    Steven Foster
  • Aerobic exercise and deep breathing help lymph fluid move through the body.

Want vibrant health? Many practitioners recommend cleansing, an age-old practice used in holistic medicine. When you mention cleansing to most people, they typically think of eliminating toxins from the liver and intestines, which is indeed a valuable health practice. But there is an equally important, and much-overlooked, system in the body that keeps us feeling great — the lymphatic system. Whether you’re suffering from aches and pains, swelling, inflammation, fatty deposits or bloating, cleansing the lymphatic system once or twice a year often can be the difference between great health and poor health.

The lymphatic system (or lymph system, as it is commonly called) is a complex network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, ducts and glands — including the spleen, thymus and tonsils — that bathe our cells and carry our body’s “sewage” away from the tissues and neutralize it. These elements of the lymph system work together to carry cellular waste to the bloodstream. The lymph system handles toxins that enter the body through external sources, such as foods or air pollution, but also handles internally produced toxins (endotoxins) that are the result of normal metabolic processes in the body.

Learn About Lymph

A study by Elisabeth Dancey, M.D., author of The Cellulite Solution (St. Martin’s Press, 1997), found that women with cellulite showed lymphatic system deficiencies. Another study found that 80 percent of overweight women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that getting this system flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved feelings of well-being.

If the lymph system is inefficient, you may see fatty deposits or cellulite or experience aches and pains. Conversely, if you improve the cleansing ability of the lymph system, it will be able to “sweep” away the toxins that are linked to pain, cellulite, fatty deposits and some autoimmune disorders.

A healthy lymphatic system also helps purify the blood through the largest mass of lymph tissue in the body, the spleen. The spleen fights infection and destroys worn-out red blood cells in the body. By cleansing your lymphatic system, your spleen will be better able to handle the retired red blood cells.

7/22/2015 1:14:01 PM

"These elements of the lymph system work together to carry cellular waste to the bloodstream." This seems to be worded backwards. The blood actually carries cellular waste to the lymph system. This is what I have recently learned from Dr. Robert Morse N.D.

7/14/2014 9:28:35 AM

I read on a health magazine that lymphatic system deficiencies are hard to identify and we should all try to have diets that would help clean the Lymph System. My niece made a couple of tests at to check out if her lymphatic system was all right and the test results were good, however her doctor suggested her to have a balance diet to keep the lymphatic system in order.

5/28/2014 9:18:49 PM

Hello, I am interested in what happens when more than 10 lymph nodes are ablated? How could we keep the flow of the lymph going in this situation? When the lymph nodes are ablated from the abdomen the siting position (for more than an hour) could bring pain and/or internal organs swellings? Thank you.

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