In this article, let me discuss the how to cleanse your lymph system.
Your lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system in the body—a widespread network of connective tissue and fluid that surrounds nearly every organ and system. Keeping your lymphatic system (“the drains” of your body) clean and flowing is vital for optimal wellbeing.
The lymph system is responsible for:
(a.) delivering nutrients to various tissues and organs;
(b.) serving as “home” to your immune system
(c.) flushing and draining toxins/wastes; and
Although it does all these amazing jobs, many people don’t realize just how important the lymph system for their total body health. You might be clueless on how to cleanse your lymph system.
What Your Lymph Does
- Your lymph system delivers fatty acids in the form of triglycerides as fuel to all organs of your body for energy If your lymph is not flowing optimally, this is a major cause of fatigue, inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Elevated triglycerides and/or cholesterol on bloodwork may just mean you have “clogged” lymph.
- Any undigested proteins, carbs and fats get picked up and processed by the lymphatic system. If your lymph is not working right, then food particles also “clog” your system.
- Lymph drains wastes from every cell and organ in the body—including your heart and digestive system.
- Lymph provides an immune detox defense for any toxins passing through the intestines, skin, respiratory tract and more. Sweat, tears, urine and waste are all a byproduct of natural lymph cleansing.
- The lymph system drains 3 pounds of plaque and other toxins from the brain each year. Poor lymph drain from the brain and central nervous system has been linked to psychological, brain fog, fatigue, poor sleep, cognitive and immune concerns.
- The lymphatic system moves primarily via muscular contractions or exercise. Lack of regular exercise can congest the lymphatic channels that drain the body and brain—particularly while you sleep.
- Lymph is vital to removing debris from the tiny spaces between cells within the body. A chronically congested lymphatic system needs internal cleansing in order to help you “detox” naturally.
Signs of a Clogged Lymph System
Signs of clogged lymph include:
- Bloating or constipation
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Allergy and immune system deficiencies
- Water retention
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Brain fog
- Itchy and dry skin, or skin breakouts
- Stubborn weight gain
- Chronic sinusitis, sore throats, colds, and ear issues
- Breast swelling with the menstrual cycle
- Swollen glands
- Cold hands and feet
- Ineffective “gut healing” protocols
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dysbiosis and yeast overgrowth
- Difficulty getting your weight to “budge”
- Depression or anxiety
- Food sensitivities
- Edema or swelling in your hands or other body regions
How to Cleanse Your Lymph System Naturally
Unfortunately, many people’s lymphatic systems have become severely congested thanks to years of processed foods, pesticides and hormones in our fresh food supply, antibiotics, environmental toxins, comfort foods, lack of exercise, and more.
The good news? There are many simple, but effective, strategies for helping cleanse your lymph naturally.
A “Lymph Cleanse” is best accomplished over a 30-90 day period any time of the year to thoroughly detox the lymphatic system. Here’s how to cleanse your lymph with 10 easy essentials, plus a sample daily schedule for optimizing your lymph cleanse!
Nutrition Essentials to Cleanse Your Lymph
Drink Up. Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of clean, filtered water. Consider investing in a quality water purifying system (like this) or at the very least, a Berkey water filter, and use a glass water bottle (no plastics) or cups to avoid toxic chemicals leached into your water.
Add in Celery or Green Juice. Drink organic celery or green juice in the mornings (before eating anything). Celery juice is rich in chlorophyll!—a compound super oxygenating to the body (especially the liver and gallbladder). Chlorophyll enables oxygen to be taken up efficiently by the red blood cells. Without sufficient oxygen, our bodies become sluggish.
Apple Cider Vinegar Shots with meals to aid in digestion and de-bloating. (1-2 tbsp in water).
Add 1-2 Fermented Foods with Meals/Day. Add a condiment sized serving of fermented foods with at least 1-2 meals per day. Best bets: Coconut water kefir, sauerkraut, fermented veggies, kombucha. Recommendations: Farmer’s market, Farmhouse Culture’s (Whole Foods), Health Ade.
Eat Balanced Meals: Incorporate a palm-hand sized serving sustainable (organic) protein, fiber (1 green veggie, 1 other colorful veggie), 1-2 healthy fats with meals, fermented food (1-2 tbsp).
Boost Soluble Fiber. Aim for at least 1-2 sources of soluble, gut-soothing veggies and fruit fiber per day with foods like roasted carrots, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, avocados, winter and summer squash, beets, berries, apples, cherries and dark leafy greens.
Beware of How Food Best Digests.
- Eat Fruit Alone.
- Pair Protein with Non-Starchy Vegetables.
- Pair Starches with Healthy Fats and Vegetables.
- Leafy Greens and Non-Starchy Vegetables Go with Everything.
- Drink Water Away From Meals.
- Spices, Herbs and Citrus Are Neutral.
- Minimalist Meals Digest Best.
Cook, Steam, Stew & Puree. If you’re having a hard time digesting foods or feel bloated or constipated often, consider softening veggies, shredding meats and lightly steaming, cooking, boiling, pureeing, mashing and chopping to make digestion easier. This is one of the many good ways on how to cleanse your lymph system.
Sip Warm Herbal Tea with lemon
Avoid the Usual Suspects for 30-90 Days:
- Dairy (conventional; grass-fed butter, ghee, fermented full fat yogurt/kefir as tolerated)
- Gluten & gluten-free processed foods
- Soy, beans, peanuts
- Added sugar & artificial sweeteners (manuka honey, pure maple, stevia, monk fruit ok)
- Most nightshade veggies & spices (chili, cayenne, hot peppers, eggplant)
- Minimal nuts (1 serving per day)
- Industrial seed oils (canola, grapeseed, peanut, soybean)
- Egg whites
Lifestyle Essentials to Cleanse Your Lymph
Move it 4-6 days. Aim for a variety of 30-60 minutes of movement most days of the week, and refrain from doing the same thing every day. Balance & mix up exercise with things you enjoy: Strength/Weights, Flow (Yoga); Aerobic (cycling, walking, hiking, swimming, dancing); and occasional HIIT.
Heat it up 2-3 times per week: Heated Yoga Class, Infrared Sauna, hot-cold showers, breaking a sweat, outside play in the spring/summer.
Sleep. 7-9 hours per night in a completely blacked out, cool room (68 degrees or below). Try a sleep mask if room is not completely dark.
Reset Your Circadian Rhythms. Your body’s natural cleansing rhythms happen on a biological clock. According to Chinese Medicine, your body has a natural time of day when one system is working the hardest. Reset your circadian rhythms by trying to align your schedule with your body’s rhythm’s including:
Wake-Up: 5-7 am
Breakfast: 7-9 am
Mentally Taxing Tasks (Creative Flow): 9-11 am
Lunch: 11 am-1 pm
Detail Oriented Tasks: 1-3 pm (planning, emails, logistics)
Small Snack: 3-5 pm (something with sea salt; avoid sugar)
Dinner: 6-8 pm
Evening Wind Down: 8-11 pm (focus on self-care)
Bed: 10-11 pm
Rebound: On a trampoline or jumping up and down for 10 minutes per day.
Detox. Toss out the toxic bodycare, makeup, hygiene and cleaning products in replacements of more natural products.
Acupressure Mat. Acupressure involves firmly pressing or lying on specific points on the body to stimulate innate self-healing abilities contained in the human body by discharging muscle tension and improving circulatory system functioning. You can buy a mat now. Aim for 5-10 minutes per day, in conjunction with your deep breathing practice (below)
Deep Breathing Practice. Lie on your back, breathe in through your right nostril for 10 seconds; and out through the left nostril for 10 seconds. Repeat for 5-6 cycles.
Get a Massage. Splurge…on yo’ self. Get some deep tissue bodywork or ART (active release therapy) done once per week.
Inversion. The inversion process decompresses the joints of the body and stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system. This brings blood and oxygen to the tissues, which helps to clear the muscles of toxic build-up. Lie on your back with your feet up the wall to encourage blood flow.
Sleep in Loose Clothing & Avoid Tight Bras. Avoid tight-fitting clothes and bras—especially as you sleep which can impede normal lymphatic flow.
Supplement Supports to Cleanse Your Lymph
A few quality supplements can be beneficial during your lymph cleanse including:
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Healthy gut bacteria support to help foster a healthy gut microbiome. Recommendations: Seed Synbiotic or Bifido Maximus
“Food” to feed gut bacteria (probiotics) and rebuild the gut microbiome.
- Digestive Enzymes & Hydrochloric Acid 1-2 with meals to aid in the breakdown of food and assist digestion. Recommendation: HCL Guard+ and HoloZyme enzymes.
- Mineral Drops. Enhance absorption of water and minimize dehydration. Recommendation: Spectramin mineral drops.
- Colon & Liver Cleansing Support. Aid in proper elimination. Recommendation: Colon Clear & Pure Body
- Liposomal Curcumin. Natural anti-inflammatory to allow for good circulation. Recommendation: Turmero Active.
Herbs to Cleanse Your Lymph
Herbs are nature’s natural cleansing and healing agents that can be consumed sublingually (under the tongue) as a tincture, as part of a tea or capsule. Herbs can be very powerful and are best used under the guidance of a skilled practitioner for your unique support. Here is an overview of some of the best herbs to support lymphatic cleansing. Follow this tip on how to cleanse your lymph system naturally. You can find many of these herbs at a local Herb Bar or a quality online vendor like Mountain Rose Herbs.
Scrubs the intestinal lymphatic-collecting ducts that deliver fats and proteins to the blood and supports a healthy and efficient drainage system.
A rejuvenating scrub for the lymph particularly beneficial for the skin and immune-related lymphatic tissue issues. It helps a congested lymphatic system get unstuck.
Powerful immune-enhancing effects, and can also be used as an anti-inflammatory. Combined with astragalus, it also helps lessen congestion and swelling in the lymphatic system.
An anti-inflammatory that boosts the cleansing process of the lymphatic system.
Provides a natural scrub to the intestines, and a refreshing boost and cleanse to the lymphatic system as a whole.
Cleans and rids the body of any damaging microbes and wastes. It improves the flow of lymph and reduces glandular swelling.
Improve lymph’s ability to flush out toxins, decrease congestion, and reduce swelling.
Mainly used for swollen lymph nodes, cleansing body tissues, and anti-inflammatory purposes.
Wolf’s Foot Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum)
Helps relieve swollen lymph nodes and tonsils. It is also used as a treatment for ear infections, inflammation throughout the body, and liver support.
Summary: Now What?!
We just covered a TON of information! How can you do everything?! Don’t you worry! All you need to focus on is just integrating ONE small habit at a time, such as replacing your plastic water bottles with clean filtered water.
Little baby steps will pay off. If you need or want support in creating a custom nutrition, lifestyle and supplement blueprint plan for you, connect with me at my online clinic today. My goal? To help you become the best version of yourself, beyond imbalance or illness.