FAQ: Which Herbs Can Help With the Lymphatic System?
The human body is composed of many complex systems and organs that must be able to function if we want to live a long time. We can live up to a century if we treat our bodies right and engage in a healthy lifestyle, though this is easier for some than others. Every part of the human anatomy functions through an underlying biological process, including our ability to control our extremities. While every system in the human body is important, several essential systems must be cared for since damaging them could jeopardize our lives. One of the more important parts of human anatomy is the lymphatic system.
Like most aspects of human biology, the lymphatic system directly affects our health and function. Therefore, if it is compromised, we risk experiencing severe health complications unless the problem is resolved. Most biological systems are extremely complicated and sensitive to certain substances and stimuli that could damage them.
When the lymphatic system (or any system) is damaged or inhibited by poor health or dietary habits, it becomes necessary to reinvigorate it. Typically, we are advised to seek medical solutions and take prescription medications, but this is not always necessary. Depending on the severity of the damage, it is possible to use certain herbs to strengthen and heal our lymphatic system. The question is: which herbs work?
What is the Lymphatic System?
One of your main questions is likely: what is the lymphatic system? This is a reasonable question since most people do not have to understand it unless they are medical experts or have lymphatic issues. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that the lymphatic system is extremely important and must be cared for if you want to avoid major illnesses. The lymphatic system is a network of tissue, vessels, and organs that work in concert to transport lymph through the circulatory system.
Lymph is a colorless, water-like substance that contains white blood cells, which are used to attack bacteria and viruses. Without lymph, our bodies are vulnerable to infection, viruses, and other major health concerns. Our circulatory system has 20 liters of plasma flowing daily, with every drop passing through arteries, capillaries, and arteriole vessels. This plasma flow ensures the nutrients in our bloodstream reach their destination so we can function properly.
Once the nutrients are delivered, 17 liters of the original 20 are returned to the starting point while the other 3 liters seep through the capillaries and into our body tissue. The excess fluid is collected within the lymphatic system, converted to lymph, and circulated through our tissue. Eventually, the lymph is returned to the bloodstream, where the cells can eliminate harmful material. The lymphatic system has multiple functions, but it is remarkably complex since it is a collection of tissues rather than a single organ.
The lymphatic system can be divided into 4 major parts:
- Lymph: The lymphatic fluid we discussed is a collection of excess fluid drained from the cells and tissues not absorbed by our capillaries. The fluid is mixed with proteins, nutrients, fats, minerals, and harmful microbes (bacteria, viruses, damaged cells, etc.). This melting pot of organic material converts the fluid into lymph, which carries white blood cells through our body to track down other harmful microbes and eliminate them. While lymph is critical, it is technically a product of the overarching lymphatic system.
- Lymph Nodes: Lymph nodes are one of the most recognized lymphatic system components. They are bean-shaped glands located throughout the body (neck, groin, armpits, etc.) and are essential to producing clean lymph. The nodes monitor and cleanse lymphatic fluid as it filters through the nodes, purging the fluid of damaged or cancerous cells, bacteria, and other microbes. Lymph nodes also store lymphocytes, which attack and destroy the bacteria in the lymph during the filtration process.
- Lymphatic Vessels: Lymphatic vessels are a network of micro-vessels and tubes that extend throughout our bodies. The vessels are the passages through which lymph travels the body and circumvents tissues so the liquid can be collected at the nodes. The vessels filter the lymph through the body similarly to how veins filter blood and have similar valves to control the direction.
- Collecting Ducts: Collecting ducts are part of the lymphatic system where the vessels deposit the lymph. The ducts are directly connected to the subclavian vein, which is how the ducts deposit the lymph back into the bloodstream. Essentially, the ducts are the final stop in the lymphatic system before the lymph moves into the main circulatory system.
The lymphatic system is extremely complex and is responsible for producing and maintaining a vital resource. Without the lymph produced and filtered through the system, our bloodstream would lose protection against infectious and viral organisms. Unfortunately, the lymphatic system's role in keeping us healthy does not render it immune to problems.
An illness can affect or damage the system, compromising our lymph production or turning it against us. Enlarged lymph nodes, lymphedema, and even cancer can compromise the integrity of the lymphatic system and put our overall health at risk. The best way to avoid this is to ensure our lifestyle promotes our lymphatic system's health so it can function properly.
Herb #1: Ginger
Zingiber officinale, commonly known as ginger, is a popular addition to many dishes, teas, and drinks. While most modern families use ginger exclusively as a spice for cooking, ginger has a longstanding history as a tool in Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger is often added to certain home remedies because it is believed to possess healing qualities.
While ginger cannot technically heal the body, it can enhance certain systems to help the body heal itself. Insofar as the lymphatic system is concerned, ginger cannot affect it directly but can offer indirect benefits that reduce the stress our lymphatic systems are forced to endure. It is no secret that the lymphatic system is closely connected to our primary circulatory system, especially since lymph is deposited directly into the bloodstream.
As a result, our bodies must have a healthy circulatory system to ensure equitable distribution of lymph fluid. Fortunately, ginger can moderately enhance and revitalize the circulatory system by protecting the cells and veins.
Ginger is a source of antioxidants, special molecules that protect against free radicals that cause oxidative damage. Oxidative damage can affect most areas of the body, including cells tucked away in the deepest recesses of our internal organs. Common victims of oxidative damage are blood cells, both red and white. Damage to either type of blood cell could trigger harmful reactions in the bloodstream that impact the plasma flow and lead to more serious health complications.
Oxidative damage to white blood cells is rare, but it can happen, and the damage inhibits their ability to attack harmful organisms and microbes. Preventing oxidative damage is possible through lifestyle adjustments, but antioxidants provide a buffer that helps reduce the effect of existing damage.
Ginger is a known source of these antioxidants and can provide the support you need to mitigate the damage caused by oxidative stress. Consuming an antioxidant substance can alleviate the damage to your blood cells and ease the strain on your bloodstream. This, in turn, will make it easier for the lymphatic system to continue depositing fresh lymph into your bloodstream. If your blood cells are being restrained by oxidative damage, the lymph may not flow through the bloodstream normally, enabling harmful molecules to thrive in your body. Adding ginger to your diet could help you naturally repel free radicals and protect your cells from oxidative damage, giving your lymphatic system easier access.
Herb #2: Aloe vera
If you have ever had a sunburn, you have probably used Aloe vera to reduce the pain and soothe your skin. Aloe vera has been a common tool in holistic medicine for centuries and has only grown more popular in modern society. The most common application for Aloe vera is as a gel for topical application, primarily because of its anti-inflammatory properties that reduce sunburns.
However, Aloe vera has additional applications that can be absorbed through Aloe vera drinks. Consuming Aloe vera allows us to enjoy its benefits more directly rather than waiting to absorb it through the skin. Aloe vera is more than an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant characteristics like ginger. As a result, a dose of Aloe vera could yield similar results to ginger consumption by reducing oxidative stress in the bloodstream.
The real benefit of Aloe vera, at least insofar as the lymphatic system is concerned, is that it is an antimicrobial. This means Aloe vera consumption can help eliminate bacterial and viral organisms that have not yet reached the bloodstream. In this way, Aloe vera can fill a support role to help lymph purge microbes from the body.
The difference is that Aloe vera can accomplish this with microbes that have yet to cross the barrier into the bloodstream from the stomach. Unfortunately, Aloe vera can only do so much to support the lymphatic system since it does not directly influence the bloodstream.
Herb #3: Green Tea Leaves
Calling the leaves of Camelia sinensis an "herb" might be a bit of a stretch, but it fits the criteria fairly well. C. sinensis leaves are used to create multiple kinds of tea, which is both a soothing and effective way to start the day and a nutritional substance. Green tea leaves contain high levels of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that generate healthy responses in the body. Green tea's health benefits are so renowned that an entire subsect of nutritional supplements focusing on green tea extract has emerged. Green tea leaves are especially renowned for their own antioxidant content since the antioxidants in green tea have been linked to reducing cancer risk.
Green tea antioxidants are some of the most powerful in the world, meaning they are generally more effective than what you might find in ginger. Several studies have linked green tea antioxidants to reduced breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer risks. The ability to fight cancer cells makes green tea particularly valuable to the lymphatic system since cancer cells occasionally overpower it.
Cancer seldom stays in one body part and attempts to spread to the rest of the body. If cancer is left unchecked, some cancers could metastasize and spread to the lymphatic system, causing the cells native to the lymph nodes to become cancerous. The studies focusing on green tea found that the antioxidants in the leaves reduced the risk of breast cancer by between 20% and 30%. The colorectal cancer study showed a 42% reduction in risk, proving that green tea could significantly benefit the lymphatic system by mitigating the development of cancer cells.
Remember that the antioxidants in green tea do not make you immune to cancer but reduce the oxidative stress that promotes cancer cell development. At most, green tea can help your body reduce the environmental factors that help cancer cells, but it cannot kill cancerous cells.
Finding the Right Blend
The lymphatic system is essential to human biology since it protects our bloodstream from infectious threats. Preserving the integrity of the lymphatic system is crucial to maintaining your health, and using these herbs can give it much-needed support. That said, if your lymphatic system is damaged, you should consult with a physician to determine the cause and get treated. These herbs are supplementary and cannot eliminate serious diseases or imbalances in the lymphatic system. Regardless, green tea appears to be the best support for the lymphatic system, but getting a reliable blend might be challenging.
We at Teami love tea and helping our customers stay healthy, so we have an extensive catalog of natural supplements. We offer multiple tea blends, with most using green tea or its superior variant: matcha. If you want the most bang for your buck, we recommend our Matcha Powder Tins, which offer the enhanced benefits of matcha to reinforce your body against oxidative damage. We encourage you to visit our website and try our product personally. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter and get 10% off your first purchase