Lymph is the fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system. The lymph is formed when the interstitial fluid (the fluid which lies in the interstices of all body tissues) is collected through lymph capillaries. As the blood and the surrounding cells continually add and remove substances from the interstitial fluid, its composition continually changes and it changes into lymph fluid. It is then transported through lymph vessels to lymph nodes before emptying ultimately into the right or the left subclavian vein, where it mixes back with blood.
Lymph returns protein and excess interstitial fluid to the circulation. Lymph may pick up bacteria and bring them to lymph nodes where they are destroyed. Metastatic cancer cells can also be transported via lymph. Lymph also transports fats from the digestive system.
The word lymph is derived from the name of the Roman deity of fresh water, Lympha.