According to Battaglia, aromatherapy can help with some of the problems associated with the lymphatic system. Essential oils with diuretic, alterative, circulatory stimulant, bactericidal, antifungal and antiviral properties are most suitable.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of superficial and deep vessels and can be found in all parts of the body except for the spinal column, brain, bone marrow and cartilage. The lymph capillaries, vessels, and and larger ducts transport the lymph and the lymph nodes are the filtering devices. The thymus, tonsils and the spleen are lymphatic organs and the breasts are mostly made up of lymphatic vessels and glands.
What's the function of the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system has three major functions in the body:
- aid in providing immunological defenses
- draining excess fluids from the body cells
- absorbing and distributing fat soluble nutrients.
When it is not working well
Sometimes our lymphatic system is not working well and this condition is called congestion. The lymph is filled with waste products that has passed through the lymph nodes. It is the liver's responsibility to neutralize and eliminate a large number of toxins. Unfortunately, when the liver and the lymph nodes are unable to cope with the toxins, the toxins can leak through the mucous membranes and other emergency elimination sites. This leaking is commonly known as catarrh or inflammation of the mucous membranes.
Vital to life
Just because the lymph system is like a sewage system doesn't mean it is not vital to life, you see, when this system fails to function properly, excess toxins and fluid will build up in the body causing pain, infection, loss of energy and various diseases.
Okay, so let's talk about the essential oils.
According to Battaglia, diuretic essential oils are often used in conditions where water is retained in the body. Battaglia says the following oils have diuretic properties, which means they accelerate the detoxification process by stimulating kidneys.
~Grapefruit, fennel, lemon, juniper, cypress, tangerine, orange, and mandarin. Caution, excessive use of juniper has been known to cause kidney irritation.
According to Battaglia, the following oils will increase the body's ability to make white blood cells:
~Lavender, rosemary, lemon, thyme and tea tree.
Blood cleansers, alteratives, detoxifiers or depuratives
According to Battaglia, most essential oils will stimulate phagocytosis, which means the ability of the white blood cells to ingest and clean up toxins and microbes. Battaglia refers to Mills, who says that by improving the functions of the eliminatory channels in the body the tissues may be cleansed. The remedies capable of doing so are referred to as blood cleansers, alteratives or depuratives. Battaglia lists the following oils as being alteratives, depuratives, blood cleanser or detoxifiers:
~ German and Roman Chamomile, sweet fennel, rosemary, lemon, lavender, geranium, juniper and angelica.
Stimulating lymph and tissue fluid circulation
Battaglia says essential oils such as grapefruit, juniper berry, orange, cold pressed lime, rosemary, peppermint and tangerine will stimulate the tissue and lymph fluid circulation.
Anti-fungal, antiviral and bactericidal
According to Battaglia, Jean Valnet lists these oils as being very useful:
~ Clove, niaouli, eucalyptus, thyme, lemon, cinnamon, sandalwood, lavender, peppermint and German chamomile as being very useful.
By stimulating the circulatory system you stimulate the flow of lymph. Battaglia says black pepper, rosemary or ginger may be used in a lymphatic massage blend.
The Essential Oils Desk Reference also lists myrtle, lemongrass and hyssop as essential oils that aid in detoxifying and stimulating the lymphatic system. The Reference Guide also lists ledum, Ledum groenlandicum, as being useful for inflamed lymph nodes.
Before you leave:
I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.
Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.
Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
- Topical Application
- Inhaling Essential Oils
- Are You Diffusing the Oils Correctly?
- How to Dilute Essential Oils
- Vita Flex Technique
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide.
Connie and Alan Higley, (Twelfth Edition, revised 2010). Reference Guide for Essential Oils. Abundant Health
The Essential Oils Desk Reference. (Fifth edition 2011). Life Science Publishing
Salvatore Battaglia (1995). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion Pty Ltd