Did you know that herbal medicine is nature’s cure for all ailments? Alongside diet and lifestyle, herbs have been used for centuries by all cultures to detoxify or tone the body and bring it back to a state of homeostasis.
Tea is one of the best forms of herbal medicine. Admittedly, the ideal lymphatic drainage tea can help circulate the lymphatic fluid all the way to the kidneys, strengthen the detoxification pathways and improve the function of the immune system. Regularly consuming one or a combination of the following 7 herbal teas will help decrease body inflammation and improve your overall health and well-being.
But before looking at the lymphatic drainage teas, it is essential to truly understand the role of the lymphatic system and why it is essential to keep it circulating and functioning properly!
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is one of the most unknown and mysterious systems of the body, whose function is systemic (head to toe) and which is composed of a vast network of interstitial channels that carry cellular waste from tissues and organs to the kidneys, skin, and bowels to be expelled from the body! It is the sewer system of the body that helps to keep it clean from acids and waste.
Our cells go to the bathroom as well, and this acidic waste must be expelled out of the body so that our cells and tissues do not bathe in their own metabolic waste.
Since the lymphatic system cleans the body from acidosis and toxicity, it is also part of our the immune system. In fact, it is responsible for the production of white blood cells that produce antibodies that keep us protected against pathogens and infection.
A properly functioning lymphatic system can clean, carry and expel cell waste from the body efficiently through a healthy lifestyle and the optimal functioning of all the elimination organs, especially the kidneys, which excrete cellular waste (the lymph fluid) out of the body.
While the liver is the major detoxification organ in the body that works like an alchemical laboratory that converts non-water-soluble toxins from the blood into water-soluble byproducts that can be properly eliminated from the body, it is not an elimination organ.
The byproducts it converts are then purged through the bowels and out of our body through feces. The kidneys, on the other hand, work with the interstitial waste system – the lymph system – to purge toxins out of the body through urine.
If the lymphatic system is unable to do its job and carry waste out of the body to all its pathways and back to the kidneys, the acidic waste becomes “stuck” in and around tissues and causes tissue degeneration over time. In addition to a healthy lymph system, optimal kidney filtration ensures that the cellular waste that accumulates daily is eliminated right away before it leads to chronic inflammation.
Overall, it is essential to focus on strengthening the liver and kidneys during a detox protocol and so that environmental toxins and interstitial acids can be properly eliminated before they cause health issues.
Why is Frequent Lymph Drainage Important?
Over time, an acidic diet and an inactive lifestyle can stagnate the lymphatic system, which becomes overwhelmed by waste. Simultaneously, the acidic waste weakens the kidneys and elimination organs, making it difficult for the body to expel waste, which subsequently accumulates in tissues over time.
A healthy lymphatic system is able to circulate throughout the body and carry waste from cells and tissues to the lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, thymus, and appendix to be cleaned by the good bacteria and white blood cells that dwell there.
But unlike blood that uses the heart as its pump, the lymphatic system does not have a natural pump and requires movement for its circulation. This is why light exercise is of primary importance when it comes to proper drainage of the lymphatic system. However, since exercise also creates more lactic acid in the body (cells use energy and create waste by fueling muscles and metabolic processes), the best exercise for the lymphatic system is low-impact movement exercise like Yoga, brisk walking, biking, and Qi Gong.
If the lymphatic system is unable to circulate and eliminate waste efficiently in the body, the body starts protecting itself against deterioration by using all its emergency exists, such as eliminating lymph through the skin (which creates the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, and acne), alkalizing the body by leaching electrolytes from other parts of the body that are less essential to survival, and creating protected pockets of acids called tumors.
Indeed, a highly compromised lymphatic system leads to chronic body inflammation and is a precondition for many diseases, including cancer.
How to Take Care of the Lymphatic System
Here are major ways to improve the flow of the lymphatic system and ensure you keep your body healthy:
- An alkaline diet
- An herbal protocol
- Eating less or no complex protein (which is hard to break down for the kidneys)
- Dry skin brushing, which promotes circulation of the lymph
- Light physical activity (which preferably involves sweating); jumping jacks are ideal for lymphatic circulation
- Light lymphatic massage
- Deep breathing
- Hydration with water and fruits
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major culprits of a sluggish lymphatic system, and the antidote is to take breaks every hour from sitting to stretch, do a few jumping jacks, and shake the body off (any movement that will promote muscle movement and circulation will do!). Taking daily walks is likewise very beneficial for the lymph system as well as for calming down the mind and emotions.
Other ways to help improve the lymph system is to lessen – or better yet, eliminate – dairy, meat (and protein, in general), processed foods, complex and artificial sugar, and grains from your diet. Eliminating chemicals from everyday household and cosmetic products is also key to helping the lymphatic system function more optimally!
The 7 Most Potent Teas for Lymphatic Drainage
There are many herbal teas that can help drain the lymphatic system and cool down chronic inflammation in the body. The following selection of teas was made on the basis that the herbs are both very potent and also widely available.
You can feel free to combine the teas together for maximum benefits to your health! However, my recommendation is to combine the panacea teas – either nettle or calendula – with the other teas listed, since they are all-around body strengtheners and tonics for tissues, glands, and organs, and synergize with the other teas phenomenally.
1. Red Clover
Red clover is primarily used as a depurative or detoxifying herb. It assists the body in removing waste products and toxins from the body’s fluids and tissues. It is one of the best herbs to treat acute and chronic lymph stagnation and lymph node swelling. It is ideal as a treatment for chronic inflammatory issues of the skin, organs, joints, and muscles and can be easily combined with other detox herbs to make a tea that combines greater synergistic detoxification effects.
2. Burdock Root
Burdock root is a wonderful lymphatic system strengthener that helps promote lymphatic drainage. It has the ability to purify the blood and improve the function of the lymphatic system, which enables it to alkalize the body and promote its self-healing capacity. It is a diuretic that stimulates kidney detoxification and eliminates excess water and sodium. Burdock also acts as a remedy for tonsillitis and helps reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling.
3. Stinging Nettle
Toxins accumulate over time from the environment and our diet, which leads to body degeneration. Stinging nettle works to flush the body out from toxic compounds and improves overall organ function. It stimulates the lymphatic system, the liver, and the kidneys in order to strengthen vital detoxification pathways and to eliminate waste from the body. Overall, the compounds in nettle are known to reduce body inflammation levels.
Echinacea is the ideal diuretic and laxative that helps to cleanse the blood and the lymphatic system. The most common use of Echinacea is to strengthen the immune system (which is a part of the lymphatic system) and regenerate the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, frequent intake of echinacea can reduce the probability of developing a cold in half and shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms.
5. Dandelion Root
Known as one of the most effective kidney and liver detoxifiers in nature, dandelion is a powerful lymphatic system cleaner. This bitter restorative helps the liver produce bile and improves sluggish digestion. The flower, leaves, and root also stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bowel flora and help replenish the function of the lymphatic glands and organs, the pancreas, and the glandular system.
This mighty herb is the perfect cyst, lump, and tumor buster and is a tonic for the glandular and endocrine systems. It is able to dissolve ovarian cysts and nourish the thyroid. The benefits of this edible salad herb include cooling inflammation, regenerating a compromised lymph system (lymphedema), treating asthma, and improving blood and lymph circulation.
Calendula is wonderful for moving fluid stagnation in the body and supports the cleansing of the lymph nodes. This golden herb supports the lymphatic and immune systems, the liver and gallbladder function, digestive system performance, skin function and has cleansing and repairing effects on the female reproductive system. Alongside nettle, calendula is viewed as a panacea herb in herbalism and can be combined with other herbs to magnify its detoxifying effects.
To ensure the best quality of tea, my advice is to always select organic, wildcrafted herbs that are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and additives. The most stringent cultivation and processing methods ensure that the herbs maintain their inherent properties and are of medicinal-grade value.
One of my favorite places to get the best variety of organic herbs and spices is Starwest Botanicals. Starwest is one of the oldest organic herbal stores in the United States and is committed to environmental sustainability practices that honor wholesome harvesting, cultivation, and processing methods.
*Starwest Botanicals is my affiliate partner and any purchases made through the link above will not come at any additional costs to you, but a small proceed of it will help support my small business. Thank you!
Over the years, I had come to honor the power of my favorite lymphatic drainage teas that include mixes of red clover, burdock root, nettle, echinacea, dandelion root, chickweed, and calendula. Enjoying a cup first thing in the morning is ideal, since the body has been in the fasting mode for many hours and breakfast should always include foods and chemistry to efficiently “break-the-fast”, hydrate the body, and promote elimination.
The best time to consume lymphatic tea is in the morning or early afternoon. My recommendation is to skip the tea at night or before bed, since the body is preparing for rest, and lymphatic cleansing can be too overstimulating and disrupt your sleep. Instead, you can enjoy a calming, nervine tea like lavender and chamomile to put your body in a restful state.
And if you’d like to learn more about the power of herbs as medicine, I poured love into putting together this helpful article, Healing With Herbs, which will introduce you to natural medicine and show you how to use herbs for a full body detox!