Now, here's the part that causes people to limp or hobble around. Lymph fluid moves upward only and does not flow the same way as blood does. Lymph fluid does not flow along with blood in the blood stream. Lymph fluid travels along the subclavien veins(both sides of the neck) and interstitial spaces, which is how it is contained. The lymph fluid itself, is actually waste fluid that resulted from the interstitial fluids removal of waste and undigested protein in the body's cells. The only thing that causes the lymphatic system or lymph fluids to move is the muscles and joints in the body. The lymph nodes then filter the lymph fluid to remove pathogens. The heart does not play a role in lymph fluid transport.
The body contains approximately 600-700 lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes cannot grow back or regenerate.
Approximately 3/4 of lymphatic capillaries in the body are located underneath the skin(superficial) capillaries; the remaining 1/4 are throughout the organs in the body(deep lymphatic) capillaries. Lymphatic capillaries connect to lymphatic vessels once they are near the blood stream or major veins in the body. Afferent lymphatic vessels-carry unfiltered lymph fluid into the lymph nodes. Efferent lymphatic vessels-carry filtered lymph fluid out of the lymph node so that it can renter the circulatory system since it becomes plasma by flowing through the small veins.
Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic fluid accumulates in one or more limbs of the body eg. arms or legs, in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling. Primary lymphedema-is when lymph vessels are impaired; Secondary lymphedema-is when lymph vessels or nodes are removed or damaged. When lymph nodes and or vessels are impaired and are no longer able to transport fluid properly, this also affects the filtering of lymph fluid so it can flow through the circulatory system. By the lymph nodes or vessels being damaged or removed, large amounts of undigested proteins build up and decreases oxygen throughout the tissue and body's limbs. As a result the limb is subject to infection and bacteria due to swelling and the lack of oxygen circulation. The tissue in the limb(s) becomes hardened and fibrosis of the tissue occurs resulting from the protein build-up. This can eventually cause the limb to decrease or stop functioning.
The lymphatic system is naturally unbalanced. One side does more than the other. The right side of the lymphatic drainage system only drains the chest and the right arm. The left side of the lymphatic drainage system does all the rest eg. the legs, the left arm and the left side of the chest. This would be a pronounced limp to say the least. So we need a platform of sorts to help drain the lymph fluid because the left side has so much to do. If the lymph nodes were affected any by surgery, injury or infection then there are herbal alternatives that can be considered to assist in the remedy of lymph fluid circulation. Yes, consult with a herbalist or physician regarding taking any supplements with other medications or if you have other health problems or conditions. Herbs such as Calendula, Cleavers, Corn Silk, Horse Chestnut and Red Root may be helpful in stimulating the lymphatic system and removing the excess lymph fluid and protein buildup in the limbs as a result. Now that we can balance this out somewhat we can finally take the lymph out of lymphedema!