What is your tongue telling you about your health?

From the time we are children we are taught about the importance of oral care with most of the focus centered around our teeth. But what about our tongue health? Could this organ be telling us more than just the flavor of our foods/beverages? The answer is absolutely.

Ayurvedic medicine is among the most ancient practices that utilizes the tongue’s appearance for understanding the state of one’s health.

As explained by the Svasthaayurveda clinic in Boulder, CO the tongue, “…is a strong diagnostic tool for looking at one’s systemic health. It is a very accurate view into the inner health of an individual…. It is important to regularly check your tongue in order to recognize when your body is accumulating toxins, when foods are causing negative reactions to your system, or when other indications of disorder may arise.”

Ayurvedic medicine suggests that each portion of the tongue corresponds to a different section (or organs) of the body. When physical signs emerge on the tongue, it is an indication that something is negatively occurring within that region of your body.

Some of these signs include:

  • a white coating in certain areas of the tongue (usually remains even after brushing/scrapping)
  • dryness/cracks
  • swelling
  • small red dots (raised papillae)
  • overall paleness
  • colored coating (light yellow, red or grey)

The diagram below is an Ayurvedic map of the tongue and the corresponding organs to each section.  When any of the above signs are experienced on specific parts your tongue it is an indication that some distress is occurring.


In addition to the physical issues that may be occurring internally, Ayurvedic medicine also suggests that emotional/energetic imbalances may also be the cause. These are known as the Dosha’s: Vata, Pitta or Kapha.


So what exactly does each symptom mean?

White coating/film: this typically suggests there is a toxic build up in the body. This can commonly be seen in the back of the tongue which signifies the intestines/colon need to be detoxified. Poor digestion and candida build up in the gut are common culprits and can also be the cause for things like acne and yeast infections (you can read more about gut health on my post here → GutHealth ). This is also associated with the Kapha energy.

Dryness/cracking: when cracks appear on only specific regions on the tongue, the corresponding organ should be focused on. If they are all over the tongue, your nervous system may be functioning poorly. Emotionally, this is linked to the Vata energy which implies the individual may be experiencing chronic anxiety and insomnia.

Swelling: this may be an indication of inflammation in the body as well as an intolerance to a particular food or ingredient. Allergy or food testing may be a good idea.

Small red dots: these typically suggest there is excessive heat in the plasma and blood. This can usually be adjusted with proper dietary changes and is also associated with the Pitta Dosha.

Paleness: paleness can be an indication of a low white/red blood cell count and often times anemia. This can be a result of a deficiency in B12 or Iron.

Colored coating: often appearing as a pale orange or yellow, this can be also be due to excessive heat in the body. Some skin reactions as a result are intense eczema and rosacea.

How to help it?

The first thing is obviously to realize that this (among other ways) is how our body speaks to us. Recognize the signs on your tongue and look into the regions of the body the map suggests. Detoxes throughout the year are a great way to flush the body of toxins and help it start with a clean slate.

Another important Ayurvedic practice is to tongue scrape with a copper tool. Copper is high in antibacterial and anti microbial properties. Using a copper tongue scraper helps to remove the build of bacteria on the tongue’s surface to maintain a healthy environment. Here’s the one we use:  Copper tongue scraper

For good info on how to scrape and clean the tool click here: Tongue Scraper Info

As always I have to mention I am not a certified health practitioner and am merely sharing my findings. I personally experienced a white cast on my tongue for months around the back of my tongue and discovered excessive candida in my gut. By cutting out sugars/starches, taking oil of oregano daily and tongue scrapping Im happy to say I fixed the problem!

I hope you guys found this helpful and would love to know if you’ve had any similar experiences in the comments 😊

Til next time,

~ Chantel



image credit: tongue diagram

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