You can learn more about your body from looking at your tongue than you would believe! Chinese Medicine traditions use a thorough tongue exam as an integral part of any patient check-up. The thousands of years of studying this amazing organ has shown a unique connection between each area of the tongue and a corresponding internal organ. For example, the sides of the tongue reflect the health of the liver. The tip of the tongue reflects the health of the heart. The center of the tongue reflects the health of the spleen. And the back of the tongue reflects the health of the kidneys. Now this may not be totally apparent to the untrained eye, but if your tongue is something you see everyday (and it should be if if you’re brushing it during oral care), taking note of any changes or issues is one more way to continue on the good road of prevention.
What does a healthy tongue look like?
First off, it should be pink in color as this is a reflection of the overall internal organs and blood circulation. If it is a purple color, it could indicate high cholesterol, poor circulation, and maybe blood stagnation. Work on getting more garlic and ginger in your diet if this is the case. If your tongue is a bright red color, you could have a B vitamin and/or iron deficiency as it is probably inflamed. A pale colored tongue may indicate a lack in hemoglobin. If you are also dealing with fatigue, look at adding more iron into your diet. Be cautious of iron supplements as over time they can make the issue worse.
Secondly, take a look at it’s texture. If you notice any raised red spots (broken blood vessels), you may be lacking vitamin C (remember to only get the WHOLE FOOD form of vitamin C, not the synthetic ascorbic acid). If your tongue is swollen or puffy, you could be dealing with allergies and/or trouble with your medications.
Thirdly, the coating. A healthy tongue should have a thin, clear coating. Changes to this coating could be due to acute illness such as cold or flu, and/or digestive issues. A yellowish coating may indicate bacterial or a fungal/yeast/candida infection. If this coating gets thicker, it will not only be causing systemic issues, but it can also impair taste and usually causes extremely bad breath. No coating at all could mean a lack of digestive enzymes.
Obviously, looking at your tongue is not a definite diagnostic tool, but it is my hope that this article may bring more awareness to another body part that could use extra attention! Oh and by the way, if you’re not using a tongue scraper, you can be SURE you have bad breath! For a fresh mouth, use a tongue scraper twice daily (you’ll be surprised at what was hanging out deep in those taste buds), and apply a drop of peppermint essential oils as needed.
If you’re finding your tongue with one or more of these lowered health indicators, we can help! Find your discounted consult coupon at the bottom of this next page!
Have fun getting to know your tongue!