The Tale Your Tongue Tells About Your Health!


Is it Scarlet, Pink, Purple, Pale? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, tongue diagnosis is a fast, simple, and valuable tool that is used to “read” your body’s health. When you stick out your tongue, the practitioner is paying attention to all aspects from color, coating, shape, wetness or dryness, and your sense of taste. The tale your tongue tells about your health is not exactly a tongue twister!

How Does the Tongue Reveal Internal Imbalance?

Generally speaking a normal tongue is medium sized, pink and has a thin white coating; it has form, fits comfortably in the mouth and moves freely. In TCM philosophy, the tongue is connected directly or indirectly with the channels of the internal organs. There is a rich supply of blood to the tongue and the tiny papillae are sensitive to change, so that the practitioner can quickly “read” the functional activity of the body by inspecting the tongue.

A note of caution: The coating is also easily influenced by many external factors so it is important to let your practitioner know if you just consumed a blueberry Slurpee at 7-11! Other factors such as medications, seasons, age, constitution, lifestyle habits can all influence the appearance of the tongue and should be taken into consideration.

Here are some useful tips to help your TCM practitioner “read” the story of your health. On the day of your appointment:

In the morning, when you brush your teeth, if you customarily brush or scrape the coating off your tongue, do not do it.

Do not drink very hot beverages just before your appointment.

Avoid any foods that might change the color of your tongue at least 3 hours before your appointment.

Report any lingering tastes such as salty, sweet, bitter, or metallic.

  • Be sure to let your practitioner know if you have started taking any new medications or herbal supplements.

Without wanting to appear too “tongue-in-cheek,” your tongue isn’t a fortuneteller with regards to your future; however, it is telling the tale of your health today. If you are not sure how you are feeling on any particular day, just stick out your tongue, get used to its normal state and report any changes. The next time you see me, I invite you to stick out your tongue, and I won’t be offended!

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The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA


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