In western medicine, the word lymph immediately conjures up images of scary visits to an oncologist. Ayurveda, on the other hand, is friendly with the lymph. The lymph is the very first system evaluated to support optimal health.
The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system of the body with many roles, and yet it is rarely talked about in the west. Many common symptoms that are uncomfortable but often lived with go back to a root cause of stagnant lymph. Most people don’t know that these symptoms are manageable once we give the lymph a little boost!
Let’s take a look at the many hats the lymphatic system wears.
Four Systems in One
As a digestive and detox system, the lymph starts as small lacteals that run along the inside of the digestive tract absorbing good and bad fats. Bad fats have begun to take a major toll on the lymph, as environmental toxins, pollutants, pesticides, preservatives and heavy metals are all fat soluble. The lymph gets the first crack at them.
As a circulatory system, the lymph vessels are the drains of the body supporting the more popular venous system. If these get congested, the body will have difficulty draining the waste out of the body, putting unhealthy pressure on the veins and circulation.
The lymph is also the carrier of the body’s immune system and is typically located just across from any skin that is exposed to the outside world.
The highest concentration of lymph is found lining the outside of the gut wall, and is called the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT). The skin of the intestinal tract is constantly being exposed to toxins and undesirable microbes that could present a problem. So, the body in its infinite wisdom has an immune army waiting in the GALT just across the wall of the gut.
Similarly, lymph vessels are found waiting under our skin, adjoining the respiratory tract, and everywhere else that the body has skin supporting circulation, drainage of waste and immunity. When the lymph flow slows, the skin will appear aged and toxins will build up. Since the lymph moves against gravity, it is common for the lymph and veins to congest, yielding an unsightly appearance in the feet, legs, thighs, hips, belly and arms.
Citrus for All Your Circulatory Systems
New research is showing that a flavonoid called diosmin, found in certain citrus fruits like oranges, has a strong effect on moving and decongesting the lymphatic system. In fact, diosmin seems to affect all the circulatory drains of the body supporting the healthy function, strength, and competence of the lymph, capillary and venous systems. (1)
Diosmin has been shown to support and prolong healthy venous tone when impacted by stress chemicals such as adrenaline or epinephrine, (2) as well as support the circulatory system’s antioxidant systems. (3-6)
Placebo-controlled human trials support the use of diosmin for the maintenance of healthy metabolic parameters, microcirculation, fluid balance, lymph system function, and albumin retention. (7-9) Results suggest that diosmin specifically supports normal capillary filtration, lymphatic albumin resorption, and fluid balance at the cellular level. (10-11)
1. Monograph. Diosmin. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Sep;9(3):308-11. [PMID: 15387721]
2. Pitsch F. Recent guidelines in chronic venous disease: the place of Daflon 500 mg. Phlebolymphology. 2011;18:24-29. http://www.phlebolymphology.org/2011/01/recent-guidelines-in-chronic-venous-disease-the-place-of-daflon-500-mg/. Accessed October 12, 2012.
3. Bergan JJ, Schmid-SchÃ¶nbein GW, Takase S. Therapeutic approach to chronic venous insufficiency and its complications: place of Daflon 500 mg. Angiology. 2001 Aug;52 Suppl 1:S43-7. [ PMID: 11510596]
4. Smith PD. Neutrophil activation and mediators of inflammation in chronic venous insufficiency. J Vasc Res. 1999;36 Suppl 1:24-36. [PMID: 10474048]
5. Korthui RJ, Gute DC. Anti-inflammatory actions of a micronized, purified flavonoid fraction in ischemia/reperfusion. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002;505:181-90. [PMID: 12083462]
6. Jean T, Bodinier MC. Mediators involved in inflammation: effects of Daflon 500 mg on their release. Angiology. 1994 Jun;45(6 Pt 2):554-9. [PMID: 8203787]
7. . Valensi PE, Behar A, de Champvallins MM,et al. Effects of a purified micronized flavonoid fraction on capillary filtration in diabetic patients. Diabet Med. 1996 Oct;13(10):882-8. [PMID: 8911782]
8. Valensi P, Behar A. Clinical implications of impaired microcirculation. Int Angiol. 1995 Sep;14(3 Suppl 1):26-31. [PMID: 8919261]
9. Behar A, Valensi P, de Champvallins M, et al. Capillary filtration and lymphatic resorption in diabetes. Application to the pharmacodynamic activity of Daflon 500 mg. 10. Int Angiol. 1989 Oct-Dec;8(4 Suppl):27-9. [PMID: 2632646]
Buckshee K, Takkar D, Aggarwal N. Micronized flavonoid therapy in internal hemorrhoids of pregnancy. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1997 May;57(2):145-51. [PMID: 9184951]
11. Cospite M. Double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of clinical activity and safety of Daflon 500 mg in the treatment of acute hemorrhoids. Angiology. 1994 Jun;45(6 Pt 2):566-73. [PMID: 8203789]
* Please Note: We cannot effectively or legally answer personal health questions here, for further assistance please consider a personalized Ayurvedic Consultation.