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Health & Lifestyle

What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health by Ashley Pitman

Posted: July 24th, 2012 by admin 11 Comments

I’m going to let you in on a massive health secret. Inside of your mouth you have a reliable diagnostic tool for monitoring your overall state of health on a day to day basis.

It can tell you if you’ve properly digested your food from the night before, if your colon is clear, if your organs are happy, if you could use a cleanse, if you’re holding onto too much anxiety or fear and it can even aid in diagnosing disease.

This diagnostic tool is your tongue. If you’ve never taken a peek at your tongue start checking it out first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth or eat. In general, you’re looking at the color, shape, and coating of your tongue.

A body with healthy organs and a clear digestive tract will show up pretty pink. A body with clogged organs or undigested food from the night before will show up with a layer of fuzz, film, the quivers, indentations from teeth, and/ or bumps (other than your taste buds).

Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been advocating and performing this type of visual inspection for thousands of years. In fact, tongue diagnosis is actually a very old practice that dates back to the Shang Dynasty, which began around 1600 B.C.

Although the intricacies of tongue analysis can take years, or even a lifetime to master, there are a few simple things you can learn right away to diagnose yourself and quickly remove any toxins that have accumulated.

First off, below is a mirror image chart of what organs correspond to what part of the tongue. Cool, right? So, the gist of tongue analysis is that if something funky or abnormal is showing up on your tongue, take note of where it is. These locations give us insight into the health and state of our organs.

Characteristics of a Healthy Tongue

1. SPIRIT – A healthy tongue is said to have spirit. The color is vibrant and vital and it moves with ease.
2. BODILY COLOR – A pale-red or pretty pink color is considered healthy. It’s not too pale or too dark. This shows a healthy flow of blood reaching the tongue.
3. BODY SHAPE – The tongue is supple, neither too flabby or too stiff. It has no cracks, does not tremble and is neither swollen nor thin.
4. COATING – If there is a coating it’s thin and white. The coating will be a little bit thicker towards the root of the tongue.
5. MOISTURE – The tongue is slightly moist, neither too dry nor too wet.
6. SUBLINGUAL VEINS – The veins underneath the tongue are not distended, they are either barely visible or not at all. Their color is light and not a dark-blue or purple.

Characteristics of a Tongue With Disturbances

There are many, many different things that can show up on the tongue, but below are 12 common ones. You’ll see references to the three doshas of Ayurveda, vata, pitta and kapha. If you don’t have any clue what they are, don’t worry, it’s not necessary to notice what’s going on with your tongue. If you do, you’ll get deeper insight into the imbalance of the body.


‘U’ SHAPED COATING ON BACK OF TONGUE – (left image) Vata sign indicating a sensitive colon or toxins in the colon

DISCOLORED, EITHER WHITE OR OFF WHITE – (middle image) Kapha indicator of kidney problems or congestion

REDDISH SPOT – (right image) Pitta sign revealing a sensitive and delicate heart


REDDISH SPOTS LINING FRONT OF TONGUE – (left image) Kapha sign revealing a sensitive and delicate lungs

FROTHY, EITHER WHITE OR BROWNISH – (middle image) Kapha sign indicating the lungs are congested, mucousy with bronchitis

BROWN WITH DARK SPOTS – (right image) Kapha indication of pneumonitis


TEETH MARKS – (left image) Vata indication of malabsorption and poor assimilation of nutrients

WHITE COATING ON BACK OF TONGUE – (middle image) Vata indication of toxins in the colon

WHITE w/ RED PERIMETER – (right image) Pitta indication of toxins and impurities in the small intestines


CRACKS – Vata imbalances related to nerves in the large intestines, sensitive nerves, nervous indigestion

TREMORS – Vata disorders related to fears, insecurities and anxieties

MIDLINE CRACK – Vata sign related to emotional disturbances and spinal column problems

How to Scrape Your Tongue


If you have a coating or layer of fuzz on your tongue know that it’s actually waste products and bacteria. You want to clear these toxins off your tongue so you don’t re-ingest them into your system. That’s where the tongue scraper comes in!

Tongue scraping is a simple morning ritual you can perform every day.

1.  Before you eat or brush your teeth in the morning use a tongue scraper or the edge of a stainless steel spoon. You can find the tongue scrapers at most health food stores or online. Stainless steel ones are great because they don’t rust.

2.  Scrape the tongue gently, working from back to front. It will usually take between seven and 14 strokes to get it clean and clear (be sure not to scrape it raw though!).

As a Wellness Educator, Heal Coach, Cleanse Specialist + crusader for whole-body nourishment, Ashley Pitman supports thousands of people in achieving a hot body and radiant beauty with a blend of raw food education, Ayurvedic inspiration, guided detoxes + courses, and lots of loving encouragement. All the action takes place at, a digital ashram for wellness-inspired people looking to use food as medicine and health as a spiritual practice. Stay devoted to your radiance and well-being by joining the free weekly newsletter with health and lifestyle tips that work. Click here to get on the list (it’s free).