Our lymphatic system is one of the most important components of detox in the body. Not only does it cleanse away the metabolic wastes produced by cells, tissues, and organs, it also carries away the excess toxicity we accumulate on a daily basis. Since our lymphatic system cannot flow on its own, it’s extremely important that we get in regular movement throughout the day to stimulate healthy lymphatic circulation. We can also support and detox the lymphatic system through the use of essential oils.
How to Detox the Lymphatic System Using Essential Oils
You may be wondering why the lymphatic system is so important, I mean, who really talks about it right? But I can assure you that it’s vital to your health and overall well-being.
The lymphatic system is responsible for:
• Absorbing and transporting fats and fatty acids from the digestive system
• Neutralizing, dissolving, and destroying/removing debris and waste products which in the body
• Preventing edema (fluid-retention)
• Removal of excess interstitial fluids
• Supporting the immune system
• Transporting white blood cells to the lymph nodes for immune response
The body can contain anywhere from 600-700 lymph nodes throughout the body that facilitate these essential functions every day. But here’s the kicker, it doesn’t have a pump system to make it move and flow. In order for the lymphatic system to actually carry out its duties, it solely depends on gravity to pull it down and regular bodily movement to pump it back up. If you have a sedentary job or lifestyle, chances are your lymphatic system is really backed up and needs a good detox.
A toxic lymphatic system will inevitably overburden the liver until it is no longer able to cope with the overabundance toxins. These toxins are then diverted towards every mucus membrane in the body as well as other emergency elimination pathways like the lungs, intestines, skin, eyes, and kidneys. This causes chronic inflammation in the mucus membranes which is responsible for every type of “itis” that occurs in the body.
So, how can we better support healthy lymphatic circulation?
1. Detox baths
2. Dry brushing (this is the drybrush I use)
5. Taking lymph stimulating herbs like cleavers (you can read more about lymph supporting herbs here)
6. Using a mini rebounder
7. Using essential oils
Think of the lymphatic system as your body’s sewage treatment plant. Stimulating it is vital for the maintenance of your overall health. If it fails, your body becomes overloaded with toxins, you can develop chronic pain and inflammation, lose energy, and become more susceptible to disease. Keeping your lymph flowing prevents it from becoming sluggish and inefficient. Incorporating one or two of the above methods into your daily routine will help support a healthy and robust immune system, a happy liver, and prevent the stagnation of toxins in the body.
Essential Oils for Detoxing the Lymphatic System
The good news is, essential oils can help amplify lymphatic flow and are simple to implement into your daily routine.
Alteratives, Blood Purifiers, Depuratives, and Detoxifiers
Essential oils with these characteristics will help stimulate “phagocytosis” – the ability where white blood cells devour and clean up microbes and toxins in the body. This makes the job of the lymphatic system easier as it helps eliminate excess waste.
Essential oils with these properties include:
• Angelica root
• Carrot seed
• Juniper berry
Stimulating healthy circulation will also stimulate the lymphatic system to flow.
Essential oils with this property include:
• Black pepper
• Cinnamon bark
• Cinnamon leaf
• Clove bud
These oils are especially useful in a message oils in small amounts.
These essential oils help stimulate lymph and tissue fluid circulation.
They include oils like:
• Sweet orange
Peppermint in particular has an affinity for the blood, tissue fluid, lymph, and spinal and cerebral fluid. Its cooling properties positively influence lymphatic flow and the cleansing of mucous membranes.
Lymph Stimulating Massage Oil Recipe
One of the best ways to detox the lymphatic system is through gentle massage. Not only is it effective, but it’s also an enjoyable treat you can include after a shower that takes just a moment to do.
Here’s what you’ll need:
• A 1oz dropper bottle
• 2TB carrier oil like sweet almond, fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
• 5 drops geranium essential oil
• 5 drops tangerine essential oil
• 2 drops helichrysum essential oil (can sub rosemary or cardamom)
Loving Preparation – Lymphatic Massage Oil Recipe
• Add the essential oils to the dropper bottle
• Next, add the carrier oil
• Cap closed and roll between your palms to mix
After a shower, apply a thin even layer of lymphatic massage oil over the body, gently massaging towards the heart as you apply it.
You can mix and match any of the essential oils listed in the article, just be careful with the circulatory oils as they are considered to be “hot oils”. I recommend using just 2 drops for a total of 6 drops in 1oz of carrier oil. You can try that out and adjust it as needed.
I also want to mention that tangerine and mandarin are generally considered safe to use on skin that may be exposed to sunlight but the other citrus oils ARE NOT. If you take a shower in the morning, avoid using citrus essential oils in your massage oil blend. If you take a shower at night, this is not an issue as the phototoxicity of essential oils does not usually last longer than 12 hours. You can read more about phototoxic essential oils here.
What has been your favorite way to detox the lymphatic system? Please share in the comments below!
Other articles on detox you may enjoy:
Pre-Bath Body Oil Recipe for Detox
Detoxifying Essential Oils and How to Use Them
Essential Oils for Detox
Super Detoxifying Bath Salt Recipe
Energizing and Detoxifying Charcoal Lemonade
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Chrissy the Hyphenated says
Once a day, I try to lie down for 20 minutes and meditate. I have a set of silicone cups and lots of sore-to-the-touch pockets of fluid on my legs, so I started multi-tasking during this time by putting the cups on and elevating my legs.
An amazing thing started to happen. The cups got incredibly “fragrant” … as in, NOT nice essential oil smell, but vile artificial stench! It was like I deliberately went and stood under the stinkiest dryer vent on the street. Yuck!
I tried spritzing them with H2O2 and putting them in front of my air filter. No change. I tried soaking them in hot water with baking soda. No change.
Then I thought, hmmm, maybe it’s oil-based, so I slathered them with coconut oil, let it sit a few hours, then soaked them in hot water and detergent. That helped, but not a lot, so I tried again with olive oil. Same again. So I tried AGAIN with the massage oil I had blended for myself in fractionated coconut oil. That worked a lot better.
I’m going to try wiping my essential oil massage oil blend inside the cups before using them, then wash them with hot water and soap after and set them by my filter insides up in between times. Hopefully, that will keep them from getting so nasty again. Hopefully the essential oils won’t rot the silicone. But if they do, I was close to tossing/replacing them cuz of the stink anyway.
I think I should be more glad than annoyed about all this, given that the stinky stuff WAS inside my body and now it’s not LOL. And since my body seems to be on a “get rid of fragrances” roll, I decided to research essential oils, homeopathics, and supplements, see if I could find ways to support this effort. My search engine brought me here; the information is exactly what I needed. Thanks!
My mom has currently been diagnosed with cancer again however this time it’s effecting the lymphs in her legs as well as the back of her neck. This causes her to have major swelling.and her balance is completely off .. I’ve bought her a defuser and was wondering if there is any particular mixtures u would suggest to help 🙂 thanks.
For some people cilantro oil, massaged into the spot(s) from which the migraine is(are) radiating will take the migraine away in 10-20 minutes. I have read that it works for in the neighborhood of 80% of migraine sufferers. GL!
My 9 yr old son was diagnosed with tourettes a month ago. Are there any oils that could help with tics?
wanda ruggiero says
I am a chronic migraine sufferer, could you kindly recommend any essential oils that would help me?
Up to 30 drops max of peppermint in 1 oz of carrier oil applied to the back of the neck and on the temples. 🙂
beryl cole says
my husband is diagnosed with MS and lyme. what oils do you suggest?
Make sure he is under the care of a medical professional as I am not a doctor.
For MS Pain, look into:
For Lyme, look into:
How to use:
Dilute desired Essential oils in a carrier oil (almond oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, etc.) and rub onto the skin. A dilution of 2.5% is recommended for adults (you can learn how to dilute oils here. Be sure to see the max dilution for essential oils here before creating ANYTHING). This method is particularly effective on soles of feet, joints, scalp, and other highly vascularized areas like wrists, backs of knees/neck. Apply 1-2 times daily.
These methods can help support the body, but, as I said, he needs to be under the care of a professional since I am not a doctor. Best of luck! 🙂
Connie Boshoff says
I have a friend who had breast cancer, 21 of her lymph nodes was removed and now she struggles with lymphedema in her one leg. Do you have a essential oil blend recipe that would benefit her?
I would recommend she look into getting a mini rebounder (mini trampoline) if possible or dry brushing the skin. This will help stimulate drainage and is pretty easy to fit into a routine. You can actually read a different article of mine on the topic here. As for the essential oils, geranium and tangerine are some of my favorites and you can find the blend I like to use at the bottom of this article 🙂
I was wondering if grapefruit oil mixed with fractionated coconut oil can be massaged directly on armpit where the swelling is?
Just make sure to dilute it well. Perhaps start with 6 drops of grapefruit essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil. Also try to keep the area out of direct sunlight if possible.
What would recommend for arthritis in feet and swelling in knee after knee replacement 6 years ago.
Birch essential oil used at a very low dilution (1-2 drops per 1 oz of carrier oil) applied locally has a wonderful effect on pain. Alternatively, you can also apply capsaicin cream or boswellia cream on the area twice daily to infuse the surrounding tissues with anti-inflammatory constituents.
Great article! I wrote about the same but not nearly as in depth. Here is my lymphatic drainage recipe: https://www.havanawellnessstudio.com/2014/01/02/mld-massage-and-essential-oils/
I am going to offer your link as a resource. Thank you!
This is a great article and exactly what I was looking for! Thanks!!
I need the best essential oil to move lympatic drainage as I have a lot of swelling in my arm
The best essential oils for lymphatic drainage are Myrtle, grapefruit, lemongrass, tangerine, orange, rosemary, cypress, hyssop, and myrrh. Any of these will work really well 🙂
Shadia Holsey says
Hello I am so sorry to bother you but where is best to find how much oil drops to use. Is there like a chart… Thank you so much.
If you’re looking for a dilution chart, check out this article 🙂 You may also want to check out this one too on max dilutions.
I’m partial to manual lymphatic drainage. The therapist can work on dry skin and then hydrate with the EO massage oil afterward.
I’m just learning about essential oils and greatly appreciate your explanations of how many drops to use, what they do, etc. My husband has neuropathy and I’m seeking answers for the pain he’s in from all sides. I know there are some answers out there. He’s on medication but it’s only marginally effective and comes with side effects. Looking forward to learning more.
You should check out my Essential Oils for Pain article 🙂 Might be helpful!
My Mom has neuropathy too! Lately she has noticed that kombacha has been helpful for the pain, also wild lettus tinctures 🙂 Tash thank you for sharing about the EO’s for pain, going to look at that right now, and thank you for this article too!
janette louden says
I am a nurse and I had my patients with neuropathy rub Tabasco sauce on affected areas and they thought I was God !!! Lolol. Gets rid of the pain !!!!!
Suzanne Brown says
Here’s how that works..it’s the same principle as smash the finger to erase the pain of the stubbed toe, or a spinal pain blocking implant. The brain reacts to the greater pain. I don’t know the fancy words, but practically speaking, the brain will ‘forget’ the lower pain level to deal with the higher level. Unfortunately, only a temporary fix. Whereas some essential oils can promote more long lasting solutions, I’d go with that rather than the quick fix. Plus volatile substances such as capsaicin can damage the skin with frequent use. That can also happen with too frequent use of ‘hot oils’ and even too high a concentration of citrus. There’s healing in the trees, but wisdom must be employed.