The lymphatic system is located throughout the body. Lymph permeates the entire body, sliding between cell walls and mixing in capillary beds. The lymphatic system is an important component of the immune system and both work together to protect the body from harmful invaders and maintain optimal health. A stagnant lymphatic system causes a buildup of fluid and pressure in body tissues, which is the main cause of various ailments. Thankfully, there are many traditional remedies that support healthy lymphatic flow and function.
Because the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, it must work against gravity to return to circulation.
- Light exercise will move both skeletal and smooth muscle throughout the body, which squeezes lymph vessels, moving lymph fluid from valve to valve. Taking a walk around the block, or dancing to your favorite tunes is enough to stimulate lymph flow.
- Keep the body’s waterways flowing with plenty of minerals and hydration. Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and herbal teas should be your primary means of hydration as they provide fluids to the body’s tissues as well as a balanced nutrient complex to support both lymph and kidney/blood homeostasis.
- You can support the return of both blood and lymph from the legs back to the heart by elevating the legs. An easy way to ‘drain’ the legs is to scoot your gluteus maximus up to a wall in your house, or even better, the wall of the sauna, and position your legs at a 90 degree angle up the wall. Rest here with a good book for 10 – 15 minutes for some good lymphatic (and blood) drainage.
- Bonus points if you massage or apply gua sha to your legs with some lymphatic herbal oil. When applied to the legs, gua sha may help to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and relieve pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints.
Dr Morse Herbs & Formulas
Primary Lymphatic Herbs
Mullein leaf is a tonic to your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system relies on proper fluid balance to function effectively, and mullein leaf has diuretic properties that help to promote fluid elimination. It supports lymphatic drainage and helps to reduce swelling or inflammation in the lymph nodes. Additionally, mullein leaf has anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the lymphatic system. It also is a mucous modulator as it has both mucilaginous gum (which can be hydrating in the presence of water or tightening in dry conditions) and some tannins. In the case of mullein, the saponin content helps to lift mucus from the lining of the respiratory tract to support expectoration. Mullein leaf is featured in
Lymphatic system 1,
Heal all tea
Red Clover supports the health of the glands, especially lymph glands. The coumarin content binds to protein in the interstitial fluid and increases waste clearance by macrophages. Rather than moving the lymph, what they seem to be doing is making it clearer, so that the fluid can be reabsorbed into systemic circulation more effectively. Find this gentle lymph mover in
Lymphatic system 1,
Cleavers is a mineral rich herb that gently supports the healthy flow of lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Its benefits can be enjoyed by juicing the leaf and stem or making a fresh plant tisane. It is difficult to dry and store so it is best to take advantage of it while it is in abundance all around you. Dr Morse loves working with cleavers, and you can find it many of his formulas including
Kidneys & Bladder 2
Kidneys & Bladder 3
Poke root and Bloodroot are low dose herbs that are for short term use only. Dr Morse includes them in
Lymphatic system 1
Lymphatic system 3
Lymphatic system 4
to ensure the movement of lymphatic fluids. Poke root and bloodroot support the flow of all liquids in the body: blood, urine, lymph, bile and excrement are all stimulated by these herbs and blockages move like boulders in a flash flood.
Secondary Adjunct Herbs
Chickweed is a little herb with a powerful impact on whole body health. Its rich saponin content gives it an alterative function that seems to impact all detoxification channels in the body. The slimy protective film of this herb indicates the presence of polysaccharides, allowing for lubrication of the GI tract giving it a gentle laxative action. For this reason, you will find chickweed in many of Dr Morse’s formulas including
Lymphatic system 1
Kidneys & Bladder 2
Kidneys & Bladder 4
GI renew #0
GI renew #1
Echinacea is an excellent herb to support lymphatic health because it is an immunomodulator and stimulant. When taken as a tonic herb daily, it can help to support immune strength and resilience, and when taken short term it gets the immune system fired up. It contains powerful alkamides which tingle in the mouth and may be a local irritant when they pass over the tonsils, stimulating the immune response.
Chaparralis a resinous desert shrub that helps to support a compromised immune system. This herb is included in
Lymphatic system 2
Lymphatic system 4
as an adjunct herb to support immune activity in the lymph system.
Bayberry and Yarrow are helpful lymphatic system herbs as they are strongly astringent. This tightening and toning quality astringes, drains, and awakens the interstitial fluid that surrounds the cells of our bones, cartilage and tissues.
Plantainis a mineral rich herb with an edible leaf. The plant has both emollient and astringent properties, giving it an amazing drawing action. The hydrating and tightening characteristics of plantain also make it a wonderful herb to help support the lining of the gut. Continue reading if you would like to find out more about the
Lymphatic System Physiology.
The lymphatic fluid, also known as lymph, is a clear colorless fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, nodes, and organs that work together to help maintain the body’s fluid balance, fight infection, and remove cellular waste and debris.
The lymphatic fluid derives from interstitial fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds the body’s cells. As interstitial fluid passes through the lymphatic vessels, it becomes lymphatic fluid. THe lymphatic fluid contains white blood cells, which help to identify and destroy pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. It also plays a role in the absorption of fats from the digestive system and in the transport of immune cells throughout the body.
When the lymphatic system is not functioning properly, the fluid will accumulate in the tissues, leading to swelling and discomfort. This condition is known as lymphedema and can occur as a result of surgery, radiation therapy, or other factors that disrupt the normal flow of lymphatic fluid.
The lymphatic system has 3 major functions:
The lymphatic system can be thought of as a cellular highway that helps to transport metabolic waste, damaged cells, and other unwanted substances from the tissues to the bloodstream for elimination.
The lymphatic vessels pick up these substances from the interstitial spaces between cells and transport them to the lymph nodes where they are filtered and processed by immune cells. From there the lymphatic fluid is carried to larger lymphatic vessels and eventually to the bloodstream, where it can be metabolized or eliminated by the liver and kidneys.
In addition to waste removal, the lymphatic system helps to transport dietary fats from the gastrointestinal tract to the bloodstream, and plays a role in regulating fluid balance in the body.
Overall, the lymphatic system plays a critical role in maintaining optimal health by removing waste and harmful substances from the body, and helping to transport nutrients and immune cells where they are needed.
The lymphatic system plays a critical role in maintaining fluid homeostasis in the body. T helps to balance the amount of fluid in the tissues by removing excess interstitial fluid and returning it to the bloodstream.
As mentioned, the lymphatic capillaries are present throughout the body and act as a drainage system, picking up excess fluid and waste products from tissues. This helps to prevent the accumulation of fluid in the tissues, which can lead to edema (swelling) and complications.
By maintaining fluid homeostasis, the lymphatic system also helps to regulate blood pressure. If there is too much fluid, this can increase the volume of blood in the body and put additional strain on the heart, leading to high blood pressure. The lymphatic system helps to prevent this by removing excess fluid and maintaining a proper balance of fluids in the body.
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in immune signaling by transporting immune cells and facilitating communication between different parts of the immune system.
Lymph nodes act as checkpoints for the lymphatic fluid, where immune cells can survey the fluid for foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. If a foreign organism is detected, immune cells can be activated to mount an immune response and initiate the inflammatory process.
In addition to lymph nodes, other lymphatic organs such as the spleen and thymus also play important roles in immune signaling. These organs contain specialized immune cells that help to identify and eliminate pathogens, and can also produce signaling molecules called cytokines that help coordinate the immune response.
Break it Down
Lymphatic fluid is 96% water, making it one of the major storehouses of the 60% water content in the average human body. When comparing our body to the earth, the lymphatic system is laid out like a river system, with smaller tributaries giving way to larger streams and rivers, eventually dumping back into the ocean.
Lymphatic fluid is transported from tiny lymphatic capillaries into lymphatic vessels which flow to lymphatic nodes, where most of the action happens. After lymph is screened in the nodes it continues to travel upward to one of two terminal ducts, where lymph fluid is dumped back into general circulation. Like with any natural watershed, optimal environmental conditions are necessary for the lymphatic fluid system to function properly: quality, shape, flow, and connectivity.
Of the 20 liters of blood plasma that pass from the arteries to the veins via capillary beds each day, only 17 liters return to venous circulation. The remaining 3 liters are not reabsorbed and instead enter the lymphatic capillaries to become lymphatic fluid. This fluid contains water, electrolytes, and other substances picked up from the tissues, and is transported through the vessels and nodes, where it is screened for foreign invaders and processed before returning to the bloodstream.
The lymphatic capillaries are unique in that they are highly permeable, allowing for the uptake of larger molecules such as proteins and immune cells that cannot pass through the walls of blood capillaries. They are also lined with overlapping cells that form one-way valves, helping to ensure that fluid and other substances can only enter the lymphatic vessels and not exit.
Excess interstitial fluid present in capillary beds (of which there are an estimated 10 billion capillary beds in the body) passes through the single layer of overlapping endothelial cells that makes up the lymphatic capillary membrane and becomes lymphatic fluid.
Similar to the venous system, lymphatic vessels do not have a pump, and the transport of lymphatic fluid from the capillary beds back to the circulatory system is a long, uphill journey. Like blood vessels, lymph vessels are segmented with a series of valves that allow for lymph to flow unidirectionally towards the heart.
Because lymph vessels do not have a pump, lymph flows from one chamber to the next using the pressure of skeletal movement (walking, exercise, dancing), respiration, and smooth muscle contractions. Read on to learn about helpful therapeutics for moving lymph.
There are hundreds of nodes located throughout the body, including in the neck, armpits, groin, chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that are part of the lymphatic system and are important for filtering fluid and removing harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. They contain immune cells, such as lymphocytes and macrophages, that help to identify and destroy these harmful substances.
Some of the major groups of lymph nodes in the body include:
- Cervical lymph nodes: located in the neck region, near the sides of the neck and behind the ears. They drain lymphatic fluid from the neck and head regions.
- Axillary lymph nodes: located in the armpit area. They drain lymphatic fluid from the arms, chest and upper back.
- Inguinal lymph nodes: located in the groin area. They drain lymphatic fluid from the legs and lower abdomen
- Mesenteric lymph nodes: located in the abdominal cavity. They are involved in filtering lymphatic fluid from the digestive system.
- Mediastinal lymph nodes: located in the chest, near the heart and lungs. They drain lymphatic fluid from the chest and upper back.
These are just a few examples of the many lymph nodes in the body. Each group of lymph nodes has a specific function and location, and all work together to maintain the health and function of the immune system.
The lymphatic docs are the largest vessels in the lymphatic system and are responsible for returning fluid back into the bloodstream. There are two main lymphatic ducts the body:
- Thoracic duct: this is the largest lymphatic vessel in the body, measuring around 38-45 cm in length. It begins in the abdomen and extends upward through the chest to the base of the neck. The thoracic duct collects lymphatic fluid from the left side of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, left arm, and both legs. It then empties into the left subclavian vein, which is a major blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
- Right lymphatic duct: this is a smaller lymphatic vessel that is around 1-2 cm in length. It collects lymphatic fluid from the right side of the head, neck, chest, and right arm. It then empties into the right subclavian vein, which also returns blood to the heart.
The lymphatic ducts play a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance and immune function in the body. They help to remove excess fluid and waste products from the tissues, as well as transport immune cells and proteins throughout the body to help fight infections and other diseases.
These ducts operate under very low pressure and like lymphatic vessels, they have a series of valves that prevent backflow.
The lymphatic system includes a number of organs that play important roles in immune function and maintenance of fluid balance in the body. Some of the key lymphatic organs include:
- Lymph nodes – as already mentioned
- Spleen is a large organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen. It acts as a filter for blood, removing old or damaged red blood cells, as well as harmful substances like bacteria and viruses
- Thymus: is a gland located in the chest that plays a crucial role in the development of immune cells called T-cells.
- Bone marrow: is a spongy tissue located inside bones that produce new blood cells, including white blood cells that are important for immune function.
- Tonsils and adenoids: are small structures located in the back of the throat that help to protect against infections by trapping and destroying harmful bacteria and viruses.
- The adenoid, also known as the pharyngeal tonsil, is a small lymphatic organ located in the back of the nasal cavity, where the nose meets the throat. The adenoid is made up of lymphatic tissue and plays an important role in the immune system. It helps to trap and remove harmful bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the nose and mouth. The adenoid is most active in childhood, and tends to shrink in size as a person gets older.
All of these lymphatic organs work together to help maintain fluid balance and protect the body against infections and other diseases.
The Lymphatic System and Elimination
Unwanted organisms enter the body in various ways: through the respiratory tract from the air we breathe, through the digestive tract on the food we eat, and into the blood stream from breaks in the skin. Lymph is there to absorb, scan, neutralize, and remove this cellular waste before it can cause us any harm. Thus, the lymphatic system is a major organ of elimination, and as such, it has an entire series of Dr Morse’s detoxification formulas dedicated to supporting its proper function, Lymphatic system 1-4.
Dr Morse refers to the lymph nodes as the septic tanks and the lymph vessels as the sewer system of the body. This is because it is the lymph’s job to gather up cellular and metabolic waste that accumulates in interstitial spaces throughout the body, screen and filter it, and carry it back to the blood stream so that it can be removed by the liver and kidneys.
All processed lymph is pumped back into general circulation by the heart, and travels through the bloodstream to the liver and kidneys for elimination. Dr Morse’s detoxification strategy supports these three systems in unison:
the liver with GI renew #0-#5,
the urinary system with Kidneys & Bladder 1-4,
and the lymphatic system with Lymphatic system 1-4.
These three systems are integral, and when one gets compromised, the entire system gets backed up. Have you ever had a septic system fail? If yes, then you get the picture.
Dr Morse recommends that these formulas be taken together to support the healthy processing, flow, and elimination of waste from the body. The Fab Four Kit includes Kidneys & Bladder 1, Lymphatic System 1, GI Renew (your choice) plus Endocrine Glands.