What Your Tongue Reveals about Your Health
By Robin Westen
Your tongue isn’t something we inspect very often, but according to both Ayurveda medicine, which originated in India over 5000 years ago, as well as Chinese medicine, the tongue is a diagnostic tool that offers important messages about our health. So while you’re standing in front of a mirror, stick out your tongue, and say “aaaah!” But don’t do it for longer than 15 seconds at a time. If extended for longer, the tension may alter the shape or color of your tongue. Here’s what to look for:
A White Coating
In Ayurveda medicine, a white coating indicates that your digestive system isn't working properly. The white coating can also be candida or a build-up of yeast or bacteria on the tongue. Anti-fungal drugs can stop the build. Speak with your doctor about a diet that can cut down on yeast.
Click through for more possibilities you can talk over with your doctor:
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Canker Sores These small sores can occur on your tongue and on the inside of your mouth. They often pop up during stressful times, if you bite your tongue, or eat too much citrus. They should heal within 10 days. If that’s not the case, visit your doctor for a further diagnosis.
Paleness If your tongue is pale, this could mean that you’re lacking hemoglobin in your diet and may need iron. Try eating lots of iron-packed foods like liver, dark leafy greens, and pumpkin seeds. You might want to get a blood test to see whether iron supplements are recommended.
Bright Red A bright red tongue could mean that you’re lacking certain nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Include leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas in your diet. Certain cereals and bread are also plentiful in B vitamins.
Purple According to Chinese medicine, this could indicate blood stagnation, poor circulation, or too much sugar in the body, all of which make you feel tired and cold. This may mean you’re eating too much cold food and not adding enough warm ingredients to your diet such as garlic or ginger. Or, it could indicate you’re suffering from high cholesterol, which may result in heart problems. If your tongue continues to be purple, seek medical advice.
Raised Spots on the Tongue Patches of spots on the tongue reflect an allergic constitution such as eczema and asthma. A Chinese herbalist might prescribe a mixture of herbs such as Devil's Claw, Red Clover and garlic for eczema and licorice or gingko for asthma.
Furriness A dry, furry tongue indicates excessive mucus in the body. This could be caused by too much dairy and sugar in the blood. Eating a well-balanced diet and cutting down on milk, butter and eggs should remedy the problem.
To comment, click here. About the Author
Robin Westen is ThirdAge's Medical Director. Check for her daily updates. Her most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."