10 Nov 2021

Did you know that a glance at your tongue by a trained TCM practitioner could determine a lot about your health? Well, if you didn’t, now you do!

There’s no magic involved but because of their deeper understanding of the shape, texture, colour and thickness of the coating of the tongue, TCM physicians are able to identify and diagnose issues within the body through this means. In TCM, the tongue is known to be interlinked with predominantly all the organs in the body through the meridians and therefore reflective of one’s health.

A healthy tongue is one that is pinkish or light red with a thin, moist coating. It should also be proportional in size to a person’s body and the edges around the tongue should be smooth without any deep cracks. A pale tongue on the other hand indicates insufficient ‘qi’ or life force, while a tongue with a purplish tinge signifies poor blood circulation and sharp pains or lumps could be detected in the body.

It is believed that with a thicker coating, a person is more susceptible to illnesses related to the stomach and spleen. It is believed that when these two organs are weakened because of a poor diet or exhaustion, the spleen is unable to effectively transform nutrients into qi and blood and instead turns it into phlegm or ‘dampness’ in the body.

On the other hand, a red tongue with a yellowish coating and dry tongue could be a sign of ‘heat’ in the body. These signs are also accompanied by bad breath, thirst and a rapid pulse. With too much ‘fire’ or ‘heat’ in the body, fluids in the body are believed to dry up and possibly cause dry throat, ulcers, mood swings and insomnia. Another point of interest to note is that with TCM, even the heart’s functions can be discerned by observing the tongue!

With such importance given to tongue diagnosis due to its ability to map out your insides, this procedure is considered one of the most valuable and integral part of most TCM examinations before any treatments are administered.

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