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Vial of Lymph collected from a vein injury. Credit to Petr Adam Dohnálek

Lymph is the fluid that flows around the body inside lymphatic vessels. The lymph is made when interstitial fluid[1], the fluid which lies in the interstices of tissues, is collected through lymph capillaries. It is then transported via larger lymphatic vessels into lymph nodes,[2] where it is cleansed by lymphocytes before emptying into the subclavian veins, where it mixes with the blood.

Despite being white in color (refer to the image on the right), in anatomical diagrams, lymph and lymphatic vessels are always represented as green.


Lymph is made out of white blood cells and has a similar composition to blood plasma. It is rich in lipids.


Diagram showing the extraction of interstitial fluid from blood

Lymph transports proteins and excess interstitial fluid to the bloodstream. Lymph can also carry harmful bacteria with it where it is killed in lymph nodes. Where lymph enters with the bloodstream is called lymphatic channels, or simply lymphatics.[3]


  2. Warwick, Roger; Peter L. Williams (1973) [1858]. "Angiology (Chapter 6)". Gray's anatomy. illustrated by Richard E. M. Moore (Thirty-fifth ed.). London: Longman. pp. 588–785