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What are Lymphagogues?

When I began walking down the plant path and started to include more plant medicine into my realm of healing, I had no idea I would find a group of plants that help the lymphatic system!

I stumbled upon a WHOLE group of plants categorized as Lymphagogues! So what is a lymphagogue? It's a lymph- moving herb that aid the body in lymph flow and detoxification, but they also work well for the skin and skin issues that are related to toxin burdens in the body such as acne, rashes, insect bites, poison ivy, and eczema. Some examples of Lymphagogues are:

Red Clover - Red Clover's blossoms are tender, sweet, and a joy of summer. They are excellent lymph movers and helpful as blood purifiers. You can use the flowers internally or externally. This perennial can grow in the wild in Canada and parts of Europe. You can grow them in your garden too. Bees and butterflies love them.

Calendula - a happy, helpful perennial herb that improves lymph flow, and helps decrease inflammation and itching, making it a helpful skin soothing herb too. Grow this herb in your garden and pick the blossoms as they are ready from mid summer summer/early fall.

Echinacea - has become a star herb in the modern world for its immune boosting ability. Traditionally, echinacea was best known for being a lymph mover and for its ability to treat blood poisoning. Native American tribes traditionally used the root of Echinacea to treat wounds from poisonous snakebites. This plant can be used topically and internally.

Burdock Root - has been gaining in popularity as a very effective detoxifying herb and liver cleanser, as well as hair strengthener. It blends well with dandelion and ginger roots. It's gentle and one of the most well tolerated lymph moving herbs. 

Violet Leaf & Flower - Is another gentle lymph mover wand more pleasant taste than burdock. It has a variety of nutrients making it a nutrient tonic that can be used both internally and externally.

Cleavers (aka Sticky Weed) - This is one weed I love to invite into my garden! It is a lymph mover and detoxifier, that you can use both internally and externally. I find it best fresh to use either in a smoothie, tincture, tea, garden pesto or add to a bath.

Chickweed - Similar to Cleavers in energetics  in that it's a cooling herb that you can use both internally and externally and its best to use it fresh.

Red Root (aka known as Wild Snowball, Virginia Tea) - has often been called a Queen of the Lymphagogues. It's a tonic for the spleen, which is an important blood filtering organ for both the lymphatic and immune systems. It works well in a detox blend or immune blend for congestion infections like the common cold, sore throats, swollen lymph nodes and more.

Green Alder - This herb has seen a revival of sorts in recent years. It's an astringent herb with tightening and toning properties, but also is a good lymph mover, helping to boost immune function and clear out those stubborn infections. 

Ginger Root - This is technically not a lymphagogue, but I like to include it because it has an affinity for the immune system and our gut. The lymphatic, digestive and immune systems are intimately connected. Ginger is known to decrease inflammation, boost detoxification, and increase circulation with its warming carminative properties. Can be used fresh, dried, both internally and externally. 



1) Groves Maria N (2016). Body Into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care.

2) Inkpen, Wayne & Van Eyk, Rob. (2016) Guide to the Common Native Trees and Shrubs of Alberta. Inside Education.

3) Gaia Herbs.