Ayurvedic Tongue Analysis
One of the tools used to measure an individual’s health is tongue diagnosis/analysis. The tongue is not only a sensory organ of taste and speech, it also serves as a map representing the overall health of the body.
Monitoring the appearance and features of the tongue is important because it can show the nutritive, digestive, and metabolic conditions of the individual. Similar to Ayurveda, Greek and Chinese medicine also recognize the link between the tongue and the different parts of the body.1
The features of the tongue have differences based on your dosha constitution. The Vata type possesses a smaller and thinner tongue than the other types, and it is also slightly rough and dry. The Pitta type has a reddish, medium-sized tongue; and a bit dry. The Kapha tongue is the largest, light pink in color, and slightly wet.2
Look in the mirror and observe the characteristics of your tongue: the color, size, contour, texture, margins, and coating. A yellowish tongue suggests excess bile in the gallbladder or a liver condition. A blue tongue indicates a heart condition. The unusual color of the tongue also corresponds to unstable doshas; a black to brown color indicates Vata derangement. A red or yellow-green tongue indicates Pitta derangement while a whitish tongue corresponds to Kapha disorder. A dehydrated tongue is a symptom of reduced plasma (dhatu Rasa) while a pale tongue points to reduced red blood cells (dhatu Rakta).
Teeth marks on the outer margins of the tongue indicate poor absorption of nutrients in the intestine. You might observe coating on the tongue; it suggests the presence of toxins (ama) in the stomach, small intestine, and/or large intestine. If the middle part of the tongue is coated, it indicates toxins in the stomach and small intestine. On the other hand, coating in the posterior part suggests toxins in the large intestine. If you observe cracks on your tongue, it signifies chronic Vata derangement in the colon. A line in the middle of the tongue indicates that emotions are being concealed in the vertebral column. A curved line in the middle signifies a deformity in the curvature of the spine.3 A swollen tongue suggests inflammation in the body. Red spots signify heat in the plasma and the blood. If the tip of the tongue is burning, it suggests stress.4 If the middle of the tongue is drooping or exhibits hollowness, it signifies sadness and grief.5
Since the digestive process starts in the mouth, taking care of it is important to maintain good health. Scraping the tongue to remove ama (toxins, the white coating on your tongue) is as crucial as brushing your teeth. If you neglect to remove these toxins, it will be reabsorbed and will enter your digestive tract. This toxicity can cause weak digestion, suppressed immune system, weight gain, acne, constipation, bloating, and many other disorders.
The benefits of tongue scraping include prevention of gum infections, enhanced immunity and saliva production, and improved digestion. Tongue cleaning also reduces bacterial load in the mouth thus it can also help prevent bad breath; it is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath or halitosis. You are encouraged to do tongue scraping every morning. Ayurveda recommends tongue cleaners made out of gold, silver, copper, stainless steel, or brass. Copper and stainless-steel tongue cleaners are most commonly used.7
How to scrape your tongue
1. Look in the mirror and stick out your tongue.
2. Scrape your tongue from back to front. Be careful and gentle to avoid gag reflex or tearing the delicate tongue.
3. A white coating/mucus (ama) will accumulate on the scraper.
4. Scrape your tongue ten times to make sure that ama is removed from crevices.
5. Rinse the scraper with water and keep it in a clean cabinet/storage container/etc.
You can also follow up this process with oil pulling (kavala/gundusha) – a procedure involving the swishing of oil in the mouth to remove toxins.
It is recommended to always check your tongue in the morning before you brush your teeth. Since the tongue can provide indications of good or poor health, tongue analysis can help you monitor your health on a daily basis and may provide some insights on possible adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.
To have your tongue examined by an expert Ayurvedic Practitioner, make an appointment with us at VedicHealth.org.
1. Tongue analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nhp.gov.in/UploadFiles/microsite/635846561062513669_1.pdf
2. Douillard, J. (2018). DIY Ayurvedic Tongue Diagnosis: What your Tongue says about your health. Retrieved from https://lifespa.com/tongue-diagnosis-made-easy/
3. Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda: The science of self-healing: A practical guide. New Mexico, USA: Lotus press.
4. Ayurveda Tongue Analysis: Do it yourself! (n.d.). Retrieved from https://asmy.org.au/lifestyle/ayurveda/ayurveda-tongue-analysis/
5. Ayurvedic Tongue Analysis: What does your tongue say about your health? (2019). Retrieved from https://svasthaayurveda.com/ayurvedic-tongue-analysis-what-does-your-tongue-say-about-your-health/
6. Bordas, A., McNab, R., Staples, A. M., Bowman, J., Kanapka, J., & Bosma, M. P. (2008). Impact of different tongue cleaning methods on the bacterial load of the tongue dorsum. Archives of oral biology, 53, S13-S18.
7. Ketabi, S. R. (2017). Ayurveda (Idiot’s guides). IN, USA: DK Publishing.