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Ever Wonder What the Lymph Nodes do?

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

Lymph nodes can be found all throughout the body, mainly in clusters along lymphatic vessels but there are a few instances of single nodes. In addition to being clustered, there are certain areas of the body where these clusters are more concentrated together including the neck, armpits, groin and knees. Each Node is a small mass of lymphatic tissue that can range in size from a pinhead to a lima bean.

Lymph nodes are the filters of our immune system. As lymph fluid flows through the node, bacteria, cancer cells and damaged tissues are removed so that they will not re-enter the blood for normal circulation. This is one of the reasons that lymph nodes are usually in clusters; harmful debris that pass through the first filter/node have a better chance of being trapped by the subsequent filters/nodes.

Once the harmful debris is trapped within the lymph node, the lymphocytes and phagocytes go to work.

Lymphocytes are the most numerous of the cells within the immune system and can be found throughout the body. There are two types of lymphocytes which include T-Lymphocytes/Cells and B-Lymphocytes/Cells.

B-Cells start out as immature but become “activated” when they come in contact with specific proteins or antigens. B-Cells include Plasma Cells which secrete immunoglobulins to bind with specific antigens and Memory Cells which basically turn into Plasma Cells when they are needed. You can think of Plasma cells as the first string players and memory cells as the second string players. B-Cells are our protection against acute bacterial infections like colds and flu.

T-Cells also start out as immature but become “sensitized” when they come in contact with specific pathogens. These cells release substances that attract macrophage cells to the area which literally devour and destroy the pathogens by means of a process called phagocytosis. T-Cells are our protection against chronic infections like tuberculosis and cancer.

Keeping the lymph fluid flowing smoothly is tantamount for a healthy immune system. The lymph system relies on our muscles to pump the lymph fluid through the body as it does not have a pumping mechanism of its own like the heart is for our normal blood circulation. Exercise is a great way to keep the muscles toned and the lymph fluid moving. Dry brushing is another great way to do this and I will be devoting a blog to the benefits of dry brushing soon. You can also find a masseuse that specializes in Lymphatic Massages

There are also many herbs that can help to stimulate lymphatic flow including but not limited to:

1) Echinacea Root (echinacea purpurea): Stimulates lymphatic activity and boosts the immune system.
2) Burdock (arctium lappa): Lymphatic. Helps to eliminate waste in the body, it is an anti-biotic, antiseptic, and antifungal, detoxifying herb.
3) Cleavers (galium aparine): Treats swollen glands anywhere in the body and has been useful in the treatment of ulcers and tumors by lymphatic drainage which detoxifies the tissue.
4) Yellow Dock (rumex crispus): Improves the function of the kidneys, liver, lymph glands, and intestines, thus aiding the body’s natural cleansing processes. It has been used to help the body eliminate pollutants, including heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.

Another option when you have the cold or flu is to put a carrot poultice on your neck which is known to stimulate and draw out the toxins from lymph. They are easy to make and use:

You’ll need two large fresh carrots (organic is preferable), one sheet of cheesecloth or paper towel and a grater, blender or food processor.

Put the carrots into your food processor, blender or grate them finely. Place the grated carrots, juice and all, in the center of the cloth or paper towel. Wrap the paper in thirds, and then fold in the edges to seal and secure the bundle. The finished poultice size is about four inches wide by eight inches long.

Wrap the poultice around your neck and lie down. Place an old towel or cloth underneath you in order to prevent staining bed sheets. The cloth will become hot, drawing heat from your neck. Rest for at least a half an hour or longer, as you wish. Discard the carrots when done or reuse the poultice for 12-24 hours if you refrigerate between uses.

Optional: Ginger/Carrot Poultice
Add a few slices of grated fresh ginger to the grated carrot. This increases the heat and stimulates the lymph. This poultice is stronger and has more “bite”.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

References:

1) Thibodeau & Patton, Structure and Function of the Body, 13th Edition, 2008, pgs. 337-340
2) http://www.naturalnews.com/022570.html
Accessed: 03/16/09, Author: Leslee Dru Browning
3)
Accessed: 03/16/09, Author: Melanie Grimes

Lymph nodes can be found all throughout the body, mainly in clusters along lymphatic vessels but there are a few instances of single nodes. In addition to being clustered, there are certain areas of the body where these clusters are more concentrated together including the neck, armpits, groin and knees. Each Node is a small mass of lymphatic tissue that can range in size from a pinhead to a lima bean.

Lymph nodes are the filters of our immune system. As lymph fluid flows through the node, bacteria, cancer cells and damaged tissues are removed so that they will not re-enter the blood for normal circulation. This is one of the reasons that lymph nodes are usually in clusters; harmful debris that pass through the first filter/node have a better chance of being trapped by the subsequent filters/nodes.

Once the harmful debris is trapped within the lymph node, the lymphocytes and phagocytes go to work.

Lymphocytes are the most numerous of the cells within the immune system and can be found throughout the body. There are two types of lymphocytes which include T-Lymphocytes/Cells and B-Lymphocytes/Cells.

B-Cells start out as immature but become “activated” when they come in contact with specific proteins or antigens. B-Cells include Plasma Cells which secrete immunoglobulins to bind with specific antigens and Memory Cells which basically turn into Plasma Cells when they are needed. You can think of Plasma cells as the first string players and memory cells as the second string players. B-Cells are our protection against acute bacterial infections like colds and flu.

T-Cells also start out as immature but become “sensitized” when they come in contact with specific pathogens. These cells release substances that attract macrophage cells to the area which literally devour and destroy the pathogens by means of a process called phagocytosis. T-Cells are our protection against chronic infections like tuberculosis and cancer.

Keeping the lymph fluid flowing smoothly is tantamount for a healthy immune system. The lymph system relies on our muscles to pump the lymph fluid through the body as it does not have a pumping mechanism of its own like the heart is for our normal blood circulation. Exercise is a great way to keep the muscles toned and the lymph fluid moving. Dry brushing is another great way to do this and I will be devoting a blog to the benefits of dry brushing soon. You can also find a masseuse that specializes in Lymphatic Massages

There are also many herbs that can help to stimulate lymphatic flow including but not limited to:

1) Echinacea Root (echinacea purpurea): Stimulates lymphatic activity and boosts the immune system.
2) Burdock (arctium lappa): Lymphatic. Helps to eliminate waste in the body, it is an anti-biotic, antiseptic, and antifungal, detoxifying herb.
3) Cleavers (galium aparine): Treats swollen glands anywhere in the body and has been useful in the treatment of ulcers and tumors by lymphatic drainage which detoxifies the tissue.
4) Yellow Dock (rumex crispus): Improves the function of the kidneys, liver, lymph glands, and intestines, thus aiding the body’s natural cleansing processes. It has been used to help the body eliminate pollutants, including heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.

Another option when you have the cold or flu is to put a carrot poultice on your neck which is known to stimulate and draw out the toxins from lymph. They are easy to make and use:

You’ll need two large fresh carrots (organic is preferable), one sheet of cheesecloth or paper towel and a grater, blender or food processor.

Put the carrots into your food processor, blender or grate them finely. Place the grated carrots, juice and all, in the center of the cloth or paper towel. Wrap the paper in thirds, and then fold in the edges to seal and secure the bundle. The finished poultice size is about four inches wide by eight inches long.

Wrap the poultice around your neck and lie down. Place an old towel or cloth underneath you in order to prevent staining bed sheets. The cloth will become hot, drawing heat from your neck. Rest for at least a half an hour or longer, as you wish. Discard the carrots when done or reuse the poultice for 12-24 hours if you refrigerate between uses.

Optional: Ginger/Carrot Poultice
Add a few slices of grated fresh ginger to the grated carrot. This increases the heat and stimulates the lymph. This poultice is stronger and has more “bite”.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

References:

1) Thibodeau & Patton, Structure and Function of the Body, 13th Edition, 2008, pgs. 337-340
2) http://www.naturalnews.com/022570.html
Accessed: 03/16/09, Author: Leslee Dru Browning
3)
Accessed: 03/16/09, Author: Melanie Grimes

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