Spleen Support Remedy
The spleen is the soft, purplish-red organ tucked just under the rib cage on the left side of the abdomen. It is about the size of the heart and is made up of a spongy material that can hold up to three gallons of blood. Of all the abdominal organs, the spleen is the one most easily and frequently injured. We usually do not hear much about the spleen unless we know of someone who was in a car accident or fell causing the spleen to rupture. Because this organ is soft and mushy, it usually cannot be repaired surgically and it is removed to stop the blood loss.
One function of the spleen is to serve as a reservoir for blood in case of emergencies. If one were to experience a sudden blood loss, the spleen is signaled to contract, forcing replacement blood into circulation.
A second important function of the spleen is to filter worn-out red and white blood cells, and platelets from the blood. In the process of destroying these cells, the spleen breaks them down, returns needed iron to the blood and disposes the rest as waste. In a disease such as infectious mononucleosis, the spleen becomes overactive and traps a higher number of white blood cells than usual. During this process, the spleen becomes swollen and enlarges. The liver also assists in removing this debris if the spleen gets backed up.
A third job of the spleen is to store platelets (the part of the blood that helps us clot our blood) and a large percentage of the body's platelets are normally found there, ready to be sent where needed.
Of all the roles the spleen is in charge of, the most important role is to bring blood into contact with the spleen's lymphocytes. When the blood contains any foreign invader, such as a virus, bacteria or parasite, the spleen's T-cell lymphocytes become activated. This contact causes the lymphocytes to attack the foreign invaders or produce antibodies directed against them. The importance of the spleen in guarding against germs in the bloodstream is so great that children who lose their spleen by surgery after severe internal abdominal injury or whose spleen is destroyed by the effects of sickle cell disease are at increased risk for certain dangerous bacterial infections. The spleen is a large, important part of the immune system.
Finally, the spleen manufactures red blood cells for the fetus during the last months of pregnancy. Once born, that function is taken over by the bone marrow. However, in cases of a bone marrow breakdown, the spleen can revert back to its fetal function.
- When the spleen is removed, the body is equipped to take over the functions of the spleen with the liver and lymphatic system (the body always has a backup system).
- A FEVER IS A GOOD THING. A fever is another defense mechanism, not the enemy. Don't stop the fever unless it gets real high, like over 104. Fever counteracts microbial growth indirectly because higher body temperatures reduce levels of iron in the blood and iron is required to keep microbes alive in higher temperatures. Besides, phagocytic cells attack more vigorously when the temperature rises. So don't stop the fever!
- Many diseases affect the spleen, including bacterial, parasite and viral infections, tuberculosis, malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, and certain fungal infections. In addition, a number of blood diseases affect the spleen, including hereditary spherocytosis (a condition in which the red blood cells are relatively delicate and are damaged or destroyed when they pass through the spleen) and chronic immune or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) (a disorder that results in destruction of platelets, which are blood cells involved in clotting.)
- Splenomegaly which is an enlarged spleen.
- Certain disorders, including glandular fever, can occasionally make the enlarged spleen delicate enough to spontaneously rupture.
Suggestions To Strengthen
- Care for the spleen as you would the immune system. The more unhealthy you become, the harder the spleen has to work and it will not be able to keep the invading germs at bay.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine is known to reduce specialized enzymes that the spleen needs to do its job.
- Yoga has been known to bring balance to the spleen, even normalizing enlarged spleens.
- Focus on overcoming feelings of Jealousy.