The Lymphatic System


What is the lymphatic system? The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system within the body and it is also a system which has not been fully investigated. In fact, most people are simply unaware of it, why it exists or what role it plays within the body.

The role of the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, glands, spleen, thymus gland and tonsils which carry a clear fluid called lymph. Lymph’s composition is similar to blood except that it does not contain haemoglobin nor any blood proteins. The lymphatic system consists of organs, ducts and lymph nodes which act as filters for the removal of toxins. The lymphatic system is a detox system; a nutrient delivery system and is the home of the immune system. Without this system, life could not exist.

The lymphatic system:

  • Works as a drainage system across the whole body in order to remove excess fluid and toxins. If the excess fluid is not removed, then toxins begin to build up causing swelling in the body.
  • Has hundreds of lymph nodes which not only act as filters for the removal of toxins.
  • Houses white blood cells in the lymph nodes which are the body’s defenders against bacteria and viruses.
  • Delivers fats in the form of triglycerides to be used for energy in between meals. When the lymphatic system is not functioning correctly, the first sign is fatigue.
  • Undigested proteins and fats that are not absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines are processed by the lymphatic system. Fats are mainly divided into two groups, short chain and long chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids are absorbed by the liver whilst long chain fatty acids are absorbed by the lymphatic system. A sluggish lymphatic system will result in impaired fat absorption leading to accumulated and deposition of fats onto tissues and fat cells resulting in weight gain.
  • Astonishingly, the lymphatic system drains an average of 3 pounds of plaque and toxins from the brain each year. Removing this plaque and toxins may aid cognitive function as well as possibly improve psychological response.
  • Works via muscular contractions or exercise. A lack of exercise can congest the lymph channels which drain the brain and body whilst you sleep.

A healthy lymphatic system

Think of the lymphatic system as a waste manager within the body albeit not solely responsible since the liver also plays a vital part. It is clear that such an important bodily system would require some form of support and cleansing mechanism to maintain its optimal function. The consumption of processed foods, the use of chemical-laden products, pollution, by-products of the metabolism of the food we eat, food additives and other toxins all put a burden on the lymphatic system resulting in sluggishness.

Unlike the circulatory system which has the heart as the pump, the lymphatic system does not have a circulatory pump. Given that it is a collection point for toxins and wastes, it is important to get these toxins moving for the ultimate elimination from the body.

The notable effects of a sluggish lymphatic system include:

  • weight gain
  • susceptibility to infection
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • dry skin
  • itchy skin
  • cold hands and feet
  • brain fog
  • fluid retention
  • breast swelling with each cycle
  • mild skin rashes

These are just some of the effects of a poor functioning lymphatic system. The traditional medicine system of Ayurveda has always placed important on the health of the lymphatic system as being vital for longevity and with good reason.

How to get the lymph moving

In contrast to the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump and yet it has to deal with three times the amount of fluid than blood and this has to flow against gravity. So how is this achieved?

Lymph fluid flows as a result of contractions of the surrounding muscles as a result of exercise or physical activity, contractions of the smooth vessel in the lymphatic vessels and movements of the chest when breathing. This highlights the importance of exercise in keeping the lymph moving.

  • Drink plenty of water; without adequate water lymph fluid cannot flow.
  • Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes and acids in fruits are powerful lymph cleansers
  • Dry skin brushing before showering helps lymphatic drainage. Work in the same direction as your lymph flows which is towards the heart.
  • A gentle massage frees toxins and helps lymph flow. There are massages specifically aimed to aiding lymph drainage but any gentle massage will be of benefit.
  • Limit wearing tight clothing. There are many lymph nodes around the armpits and pressure for example from a bra may limit lymph drainage.
  • Use a supplement that works such as Cleavers by Viridian Nutrition.

Cleavers for the lymphatic system

Cleavers has a long history of traditional medicinal use both externally and when taken internally. An excellent diuretic, it is often used to alleviate inflammatory skin concerns such as psoriasis and eczema. Cleavers is often used as a detoxifying agent.

Also known as sticky weed, Cleavers is thought to move, drain and filter cellular waste out of the body whilst helping to stimulate killer cells, which are specialised white blood cells that engulf bacteria and viruses, to help support immune health.

The lymphatic system is equally important as the blood circulatory system and thoroughly cleansing this detoxification and immune enhancing system, even if carried out periodically, is in my opinion the key to optimal health.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Gut Health, Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , ,
  • Victoria Health

    Cleavers in supplement form helps to support the immune system by its cleansing action, by ensuring healthy fluid flow and through several other mechanisms. Cleavers is not stimulating the immune system and would deemed to be safe but please ask your GP or consultant before embarking usage.

  • Izzi Reynaud

    Thank you. I will discuss it with the Derm at my next appointment. I would like to try this supplement. Is there any research about which describes how long you need to take the supplement before you may begin to notice a change or improvement?

  • Victoria Health

    Hi, it would indeed by prudent to get advice. There are no clinical studies however there are many discussions on the use of cleavers for the lymphatic system. We would recommend a minimum period of a couple of months.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Gina, glad you like the site. Cleansing the lymphatic system improves health on multiple levels. It would nevertheless be prudent to check with your GP due to the variety of medications you are currently taking.

  • Gina

    Thank you for your response, Shabir. I will ask my GP – I truly believe this will help me. I need energy (and detox) so badly.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Gina, please keep me informed. Shabir

  • Gina

    Shabir – I will! I am so excited to be making a start with these products. Shabir, in your opinion what would be the best product from The Ordinary, that has the potential to help with all of this awful texture (bumps that won’t budge) on the sides of my nose – around my mouth, and on my chin? I don’t think they are regular blemishes, but they are clogged pores. I don’t know. I use Tretinoin creme (0.25%) at bedtime – and an antibiotic paste like treatment two times a day for adult acne. It keeps the cysts away – but my skin is not as it should be. I’ve never used a peel, wouldn’t know how. I have however, always cleansed and hydrated my skin — no matter what. I get stupid black heads too (hate those). I have quite oily skin for a 55 year old woman. I’ve learned tricks to deal with it. Anyway – sorry to ramble. What I would give for clear – smooth skin. Any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate any advise.

    Thank you!!!

  • Victoria Health

    Dear Gina, I would consider the use of Niacinamide + Zinc to normalise oil production, Azelaic acid to help gently resurface skin as well as unclogging pores and perhaps Natural Moisturizing Factors which helps to provide surface hydration without clogging pores.

  • Gina

    I got it put down in my log of things to order!!! Thank you so much for you time and knowledge!!! I appreciate it more than you know. Be Blessed! We’ll talk again, I’m sure.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Gina, you are welcome and always glad to help. Best wishes Shabir

  • goldie2404

    Hi Shabir
    I have just read the very interesting article about the lymphatic system and the benefit of Cleavers. I am taking HRT Everol Sequi 50 patches and wonder if I can also take Cleavers.


  • Victoria Health

    Hi, Cleavers is generally recognised as safe for use with hormone replacement therapies.
    Best wishes,

  • goldie2404

    Thank you very much. I love reading all your articles and the wealth of information on health issues you share. Very much appreciated the help you provide to the readers and your customers..

  • Victoria Health

    Thank you for your kind words and I am glad that you have enjoyed reading our editorials. It has always been out ethos to provide as much information as we can so that our customers can make informed choices.
    Best wishes,

  • Gul

    Hi Shabir could you advice if Cleavers tablets are suitable for someone with stage 0 chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and on no treatment

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Gul, Cleavers would be deemed to be safe but it is best to check with your GP or consultant.
    Best wishes,

  • Louise Morgan

    Hi Shabir, thanks for a great article. Can you please advise if cleavers are save to take whilst breastfeeding. Thanks very much. Louise

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Louise, glad you found the article informative. It would unfortunately not be advisable to take Cleavers whilst breastfeeding.
    Best wishes,