Gaining a clear understanding of the body's great lymphatic system unveils the pathophysiology of many diseases and a clear road to health. Microbes, viruses, inflammation, and bacteria all play a part in the progression of disease. However, the lymphatic system, when combined with the microbiome could expose clues that will allow us to live a life of vitality that is free from suffering.
The human body is comprised of roughly 37.2 trillion cells. Other than the cells, we have two major interstitial fluids - lymph and blood. In this article we’ll discuss the role of the lymphatic system, 5 herbs to improve lymphatic health, the role of bacteria in the lymphatic system, as well as 6 tips to help your body detoxify by moving lymphatic fluid.
The Lymphatic System is the Body’s Sewage System
All living systems, from cells to multicellular organisms carry out two critical functions - they consume (and assimilate) nutrition and (break down and) eliminate waste. Alongside waste from the consumption of food, the by-products of our 37.2 trillion cells need to be eliminated. The lymphatic system is the sewage system of the body.
Everything from living plants to manufacturing plants takes in raw materials and eliminate waste that is toxic. When we’re talking about detoxification, then our focus is on the elimination side of life. The vast majority of waste is acidic in nature with a pH of under 7.
Balancing the Yin and Yang of Health
There are two essential life-giving processes in the body that can be likened to yin and yang. These are:
- Yin - Consuming nutrition, alkaline, feminine, blood
- Yang - Eliminating waste, acidic, masculine, lymph
Both processes contain an element of assimilation. The yin side works with utilizing nutrition to build tissues while the yang side deals with breaking down waste.
Maintaining the pH of Health
The body works tirelessly, with the aid of our microbiota to maintain homeostasis. This includes keeping the pH of our blood within a tight range of 7.35 to 7.45. Just 7% of the body's fluids is blood, however, a slight alteration in pH can signal disease and lead to death. The body's lymphatic system plays a critical role in keeping the body's base pH in check by alkalizing the nitrogenous by-products of metabolism.
Lymphatic Fluid is a Lipid-Based Fluid
Nature has the entire process of regeneration and elimination covered. It pushes biological and toxic waste toward the lymphatic system, which in turn is filled with immune cells and bacteria. The main mucosal constituent of the lymphatic fluid that cleanses the system is a natural lipid-based antacid that protects the body from the damaging effects of corrosive acids.
Lymph Nodes Contain Immune Cells
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that reach out to every organ in the body. Waste material is pushed towards the lymphatic system where it is met with immune cells and bacteria that can break down toxic materials. The body has between 501 and 700 lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are essential for filtering out waste products in the body.
Lymph nodes or lymph glands play an essential role in the adaptive immune system. They are connected to the great lymphatic system by lymphatic vessels. The lymph nodes are filled with B and T lymphocytes that work to defend the body by breaking down foreign particles and fighting infection.
The Lymphatic System & Movement
Unlike the blood, lymph fluid has no central pump. This means that we rely on the motion from our muscles for the lymph fluid to move. Lymph fluids can also be moved by a process called “lymphatic drainage massage”. Interrupted lymphatic flow can lead to a build-up of toxins in the system. Moving the lymphatic fluids through exercise or lymphatic massage can improve the circulation of lymph fluid, leading to optimal excretion of waste material.
Here are 6 ways to move the fluid in the lymphatic system:
- Gua sha
- Dry brushing
- Altering the diet to remove processed foods
- Lymphatic drainage massage
Raw Plant-Based Nutrition
To activate the lymphatic system we must consume an abundance of raw plant-based nutrition. Berries, melons, citrus fruits, and grapes are all fantastic foods for cleansing the lymphatic system.
We should eat food to nourish the 37.2 trillion cells in our bodies. Studies have shown that the bacterial component of our cells is 100 times more than human cells.
What we eat alters the types of bacteria that reside in our gut, which in turn changes the types of waste that is produced. Consuming an abundance of raw plant-based foods will encourage the natural healing bacteria to proliferate and the lymphatic system to perform optimally.
The Role of Bacteria
Bacteria play a critical role in health, including working to maintain homeostasis in our bodies. Microbes help both the yin and the yang components of life. They break down nutrients, help catalyze essential chemical reactions and also break down toxic waste.
Back in the 1800’s Louis Pasteur, a French biologist and microbiologist invented germ theory. Germ Theory is the currently accepted theory of disease that states that pathogens or "germs" can lead to disease. This lead to the widespread use of antibacterial agents and antibiotics. More recently, since 2007, the Human Microbiome Project has exposed how beneficial bacteria can be to human health.
5 Herbs to Improve Lymphatic Health
Some herbs have the ability to increase lymphatic flow and drainage. Here are some examples of lymphatic system boosting herbs:
- Red clover