Most people don’t even think about their tongues, as the priority is always on dental and gum care. It may sound funny, but tongues can be an important indicator of our health and should not be ignored. Did you know that those occasional bumps on your tongue can mean something about your current state of health?

In Chinese medicine, the tongue’s color indicates the state of your Qi (chee), which is your vital energy. What may seem like a simple tongue exam is an excellent method of identifying disease patterns and other health conditions. A tongue is an external representation of what is going on internally, so it is always included in an examination.

A tongue that is considered healthy and normal is moist, pale red, or pink with a thin white coating and is thinner on the edges and thicker in the center. The thickest part is at the base of the tongue. If your tongue doesn’t match that description, it does not necessarily translate into a severe health issue.

Our tongues are divided into three sections according to the Triple Burner examination method. Each corresponds to a different part of the inner body.

Tip of the Tongue

It is coined the Upper Burner, which represents the heart and lungs. The very tip corresponds with the heart. The area between the tip and center relates to the lungs.

Middle Burner

The center of the tongue is an indicator regarding the stomach and spleen.

Lower Burner

The lower portion of the tongue corresponds to the kidneys, bladder, and intestines.

A Tongue Inspection

When a Chinese practitioner examines your tongue, they will be looking at its color, movement, coating, and moisture. Additionally, movement characteristics, cracks, and teeth marks will be reviewed and noted.

Movement: If the tongue is quivering or trembling, it may be a symptom of stress. It can also mean low ebb energy or fatigue. If it is puffy and has ridges on the sides, it means very low energy.

Coating: A tongue’s coating can say a lot about a body’s hydration level. If there is a thick yellow coating in the center, it means the body isn’t adequately hydrated. If it has a greasy layer, it indicates too much hydration or the possibility of ingesting greasy foods. An uneven tongue coating may mean a hydration issue in the stomach and liver.

Color: If the tongue’s color is a strong red, the body is likely holding onto too much heat. It may mean just the opposite if it is pale – not enough heat to help with blood flow. A purple or darkish tongue reveals a lack of blood circulation.

Moisture: Did you know that some health conditions can leave the tongue in a permanent state? Overweight people often have more damp tongues.

If you are not feeling well, or are concerned with unusual coating, color, moisture, or movement on your tongue, schedule an appointment for a complete examination. Click here or call (414) 419-5574 today!


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with Dr. Lin Dan Zhu