Open your mouth and look at your tongue. That may sound bizarre, but your tongue can tell a lot about your health.

The tongue tells all!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the tongue is a helpful tool for diagnosis, as it’s an external organ that’s thought to have visual health indicators. According to the ancient healing philosophy, the shape, quality, texture, coating, and color of the tongue can provide clues about somebody’s health and well-being.

What is the tongue map?

In Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine the tongue is divided into five different areas. Each area represents the current state of health of its designated organ and organ system.

The first area is the front portion of the tongue, which is related to the organs of the chest – the Heart and Lungs.

The second area is the tongue centre, representing the health of the Spleen & Stomach, which equates to the digestive system in Western Medicine.

The third & fourth areas are the sides of the tongue, which pertain to the state of the Liver on the left and the Gall Bladder on the right.

The fifth area the rear of the tongue shows the current health of the Kidneys, Bladder, and Intestines.

When examining the tongue coat, we observe the quantity, color, moisture, quality and distribution.

What should a normal tongue look like?

The normal body color should be pale red. The body should be soft, with a flexible body which is evenly shaped. It should be moist and bright with a thin white and clear coat.

What color should your tongue be?

The tongue body color indicates the body’s internal temperature. A normal tongue color shows up as light red or pink.

A pale tongue indicates a “cold” condition.

A red tongue indicates a “heat” condition.

A purple tongue indicates “blood stagnation,” or insufficient blood circulation.

What is that coating on my tongue?

The coating on the tongue primarily reflects the coating and lining of the digestive system. A normal tongue has a thin white coat, which reflects a healthy lining of the digestive system and normal gut flora.

A thick tongue coat indicates that digestion is sluggish.

A thick white coat points to an issue of “cold” in the GI tract

A thick yellow coat indicates “heat” or inflammation in the GI tract.

A peeled or cracked tongue coat indicates insufficient lining or flora in the digestive system.

Putting it all together