Problems affecting the Lymphatic/Immune System

Lymphatic and immune system, essential oils

The lymphatic system and the immune system are very closely linked. Lymph is a clear fluid which is part of the continual process of circulation in the body. The lymphatic system has no pump, and is circulated only by body movement. It is involved in the absorption of fats from the intestines, and the drainage and removal of toxic wastes from the body, and triggers the start of an immune response to infection. The lymphatic system is very important, as it performs the cleansing process for the body, to eliminate toxins. The immune system is also very important, as this is the bodies way of fighting of infection. Essential oils help both the lymphatic and immune systems of the body by improving the circulation and elimination of wastes, and increasing the bodies natural ability to protect itself from airborne viruses and bacteria.


Water retention is swelling of the tissues due to excess fluid being retained by the body. It may be localised or temporary i.e where there is inflammation due to injury – i.e sprained ankle, or it may be generalised affecting larger areas, or even the whole body. Generalised oedema can be the sign of a serious illness if it is affecting the whole body, and must be checked by a GP as this could indicate kidney failure or heart disease.

Other possible causes of water retention are Pre menstrual tension, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, allergic reactions, or standing or sitting to long. Essential oils with diuretic, detoxifying and depurative (blood cleansing) properties should be used. Antiseptics are of good use, as these can prevent infection if the water retention is due to allergy or inflammation.

Essential oils for Oedema:

Lemon Diuretic, depurative
Grapefruit Promotes elimination of more water in the kidneys, diuretic, depurative, Antiseptic
Fennel Diuretic, depurative
Juniper Diuretic, depurative, tonic to the kidneys (elimination of excess fluid), antiseptic
Geranium Diuretic, antiseptic
Cypress Diuretic, Antiseptic, Hepatic (promotes detoxification in the liver)
Orange Lymphatic stimulant – Promotes lymphatic circulation, elimination of excess water, diuretic, depurative.
Mandarin Antiseptic, diuretic.


The symptoms of influenza or “flu” are an immune response by the body after invasion of an airborne virus. Symptoms include a high fever (the bodies way of speeding up all internal processes in order to deactivate the virus), aching limbs, headaches, and nasal congestion.

Treatment with essential oils is best when used as a preventative to boost the immune system, or at the very first sign of infection, when the symptoms are only minor.

Massage must never be carried out on a client with a fever, as this will raise their body temperature also.

In cases of a serious fever please seek medical attention.

Essential oils for influenza:


Antiviral essential oils do not mask the symptoms of influenza or suppress them. Their role instead is to strengthen the immune systems response so that it is working at maximum efficiency, and help prevent any more reproduction of the virus in the body.

Antiviral essential oils: Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Ravensara, Rosemary, Thyme, Cajeput, Niaouli, Myrtle, Melissa, Peppermint, Kanuka, Manuka.


The use of febrifuge oils can be employed for fever. The higher body temperature helps prevent the viruses from replicating (the body tries to raise its temperature past their optimum range), and also speeds up immune response.

Febrifuges can be used to help cool the body at the same time as assisting the immune system in fighting the invading viruses. Essential oils should be used in a tepid bath or a compress for a fever, as massage is contraindicated.

Essential oils: Ginger, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Myrtle, Niaouli, Tea tree, Roman Chamomile.

Source: Aromaflex Academy Course Notes


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