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Lymphatic system - detoxification and immune defense

April 24, 2019
Dr. Dorothee Bös et al.

The lymph is a very special juice, which Thomas Mann already described in the “Zauberberg” as “the most delicate, intimate and tender thing in the whole body”. The lymphatic system – like the blood circulation, for example – is a system that runs through the entire body; the lymph reaches all parts of the body and organs and is in constant exchange of substances and information with them.

Nevertheless, lymphology still tends to lead a shadowy existence in both conventional medicine and naturopathy. The lymphatic system fulfills essential tasks in our organism. For example, it is the basis for the removal of degradation products from the tissues and an important component of a powerful immune response. Disorders of the functional circuit “lymph” can lead to a significant increase in the tendency to disease, depending on the degree of severity. It is useful to know that this important system can be effectively supported by natural means such as mycotherapy.

What lymph consists of

Lymph is a fluid of watery, light yellow color and consists of protein, fat, metabolic and inflammatory products. Water forms the basis for transport, accounting for more than 90 %. The higher the fat content, the more milk-colored it becomes. The lymph is formed in the interstitium. In the very fine blood capillaries – also called hair vessels – water and other substances are squeezed out of the blood. This can be thought of as similar to pressing cottage cheese or potatoes through a muslin cloth. A liquid with small, filtered particles is obtained.

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Most important tasks: Excretion of degradation products and immune defense.

The lymph thus serves, among other things, for the elimination and removal of proteins and fats, metabolic and degradation products, and cellular toxins. Half of the protein contained in the blood leaves the blood capillaries within 24 hours and is transported away via the lymph, ultimately to be returned to the blood system.

A second task of the lymphatic system is immune defense. In the course of inflammation, allergy, infection or injury, the body responds by dilating blood capillaries and increasing permeability. The classic signs of inflammation such as swelling, redness, warmth and pain occur.

If the lymphatic system is weakened or severely stressed, lymphedema can occur. In the case of ENT infections, this is manifested by swelling of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract.

The lymphatic system - a finely branched circulatory system

The fine lymph capillaries absorb the lymph from the interstitial fluid. From there, the lymph passes through lymphatic collectors into ever-expanding lymphatic vessels that open into the lymphatic trunks. On its way to these lymphatic trunks, the lymph passes through the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes serve as a filtering station and therefore also as a defense against infections. They filter out coarse components and release water into the surrounding vasculature, concentrating the lymph. The lymphatic channels flow into the bloodstream.

The lymphatic organs

A distinction is made between primary and secondary lymphoid organs. In the primary such as thymus and bone marrow, the T and B lymphocytes, respectively, are formed. Secondary include lymph nodes, spleen, and lymphoid tissue such as tonsils and appendix. The lymphatic organs are important components of the body’s immune defense system.

The lymphatic system is also affected in many diseases

Infection and inflammation also increase lymphatic load. Direct diseases of the lymphatic system include edema, lymph gland tumors, malignant lymphomas, and diseases of the individual lymphatic organs.

Vital mushrooms optimally support the function of our lymphatic system

Vital mushrooms have proven to be good for supporting the lymphatic system. This is shown by scientific studies as well as experience from mycotherapeutic practice. The most important medicinal mushrooms are ABM, Polyporus and Reishi.

Vital mushroom ABM

Agaricus blazei murril (ABM) was discovered in the mountainous region of Brazil and first described in 1947 by the US mycologist William Alphonso Murril. A good decade later, it again came under the scrutiny of scientists: it had been found that the inhabitants of this region, who regularly consumed this mushroom, hardly suffered from cancer.

The ABM has a relation to the immune system. Studies indicate that macrophages, monocytes and T-lymphocytes are increased under its administration. The ABM can support the immune processes that take place in the lymphatic organs such as the lymph nodes. In TCM, the mushroom is also associated with the spleen and bone marrow.

Vital mushroom Polyporus

Also important in diseases of the lymphatic system is polyporus. According to TCM, this medicinal mushroom acts especially on the spleen, kidney and bladder. In TCM, it is used to dissolve stagnant fluid. It has diuretic properties and is well proven in edema. Scientific studies also confirm the diuretic effect of this mushroom, as described by Prof. Ivo Bianchi, MD, among others.

In this context, it is interesting to know that unlike most dehydrating agents, the administration of Polyporus does not lead to increased excretion of valuable potassium. Bianchi also mentions a study from Japan that supports the organ relationship of Polyporus to the lymphatic system.

The study isolated seven triterpene compounds – polyporusterones A, B, C, D, E, F and G, which exert cytotoxic effects on leukemic cells. Bianchi sees another area of application for Polyporus in the supportive treatment of cancers that spread by the lymphatic route, such as mammary Ca, prostate Ca, lung Ca and uterine cancer.

Vital mushroom Reishi

Another valuable mushroom is the reishi. Due to its high content of triterpenes, it counteracts inflammation and inhibits histamine release. Thus, this medicinal mushroom can be an effective support for all inflammatory complaints of the lymphatic system and its lymphatic organs.


It is desirable that greater importance be given to the lymphatic system because it is involved in most diseases associated with infection or inflammation. With certain medically effective vital mushrooms a good support of the individual functions of the lymphatic system can be achieved.

Be it that the corresponding organs and their functions are supported or that the lymphatic system as a whole is strengthened. Due to the connection of the lymphatic system with the immune system, one always strengthens the immune defense. Here the mushrooms Agaricus blazei murrill, the Polyporus and the Reishi can offer valuable services.

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