Monday, 27. October 2014

What, Pray Tell, Does the Lymphatic System Actually Do?

It's a well known fact that blood circulates in our bodies. We all know that blood is pumped all the way from our hearts down to the very last of our veins. However, hardly anyone is aware that we also have a second system that manages liquids: the lymphatic system. This clandestine system usually operates in secret, but what exactly does it do?

We only really pay attention to the lymphatic system when our lymph nodes are suddenly swollen. These poor nodes in the neck, under the arms, in the groin or behind the knees can be prone to infections or inflammation. Sometimes, after a serious operation, a specially trained masseuse comes to gently stimulate and drain the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system was officially discovered by Hippocrates in the 5th century. Naturopathy considers it an important system to which the spleen and thymus glands also relate. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) supports the lymphatic system with a tradition of gentle massage and special herbal care. Homeopathy and naturopathy also dedicate themselves to the knowledge of regulating agents and medicinal plants that help this system work. Some even call the fluids of the lymphatic system "blood milk".

First things first: the lymphatic system is primarily busy with carrying away adverse products like poisons, excess liquids, fats and waste. It also busies itself with taking care of substances in the body that are not directly taken care of or reached by the bloodstream. When tiny veins open and accept unfavorable and useless substances, lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes filter out these substances until they eventually end up at the largest lymphatic vessels in ​​the upper chest area, thereby avoiding the blood stream. 

Unfortunately, this filtering can also clog up the lymphatic system, which may lead to many types of ailments, including swelling and inflammation, or nervous or emotional problems.

What could be more important than stimulating and regularly cleaning out the lymphatic system? In natural medicine, the following measures are applied: cupping, the use of leeches, plasters or medicinal plants such as a herbal mixture according to Paracelsus or tinctures of horse chestnut.

To assist the spleen, which is often a forgotten organ, using herbs that support the liver and detoxification are recommend. Herbs like: nettle (for example, spagyrische essence),ivy,agrimony or chicory can be used.