Tongue diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an indispensable guide in differentiating syndromes. All the meridians of the viscera connect directly or indirectly with the tongue. And remember, the heart opens to the tongue.
The advantages of the tongue diagnosis are:
The tongue body colour almost always reflects the true condition of the patient. The tongue cody and coating are unaffected by short-term events or recent changes.
The tongue appearance monitors the improvement or decline of the patient's condition.
The correspondence of different areas of the tongue to specific organs are in general agreement for a change.
The diagnosis is objective compared with the many variations of the pulse and the pulse taker.
Finally, it's easy and will help you in understanding your own health.
A limitation is the lack of precision in diagnosing the source of the problem which would take more patient information and pulse interpretation.
We will observe in detail: colour, shape and coating.
Normal-pale/red and moist
Pale-indicates deficient Yang and Blood
Red, deep red indicates a degree of heat
Purple/blue indicates a statis of blood - reddish from heat and bluish from cold
This includes consistency, texture and motility. It reflects deficiency or Excess, the state of the organs, Qi and Blood. We will look at thin, swollen, stiff, flaccid, long, short, cracked, quivering and deviated.
The tongue coating is a physiological by-product of the Stomach digestion of food and fluids. In TCM, digestive function depends on Spleen transformation and transportation of food and the Stomach's (origin of fluids) fermenting and ripening the food. In the process, residue reaches the tongue. The moisture, wet or dry, on the tongue shows the state of the Body Fluids. The tongue coating colour shows the presence, absence and strength of a pathogenic factor.
White - cold pattern
Yellow - full heat
Grey/black - extreme heat and cold
Tongue Diagnosis, Theory of Oriental Medicine
Tongue diagnosis is an example of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) external observation of internal processes.
To fully understand the tongue diagnosis, knowledge of the Eight Principles: Yin and Yang, Internal and External, Excess and Deficiency; and Hot and Cold are necessary.
The tongue body and coating are affected mostly by short-term events, changing constantly.
A blue tongue and face is normal for a pregnant woman, showing there is activity in the womb.
A normal tongue has a medium white coat and is very red.
The shape is not as important as the coating.
The coating is a physiological by-product of the digestion of food and fluids depending on the Spleen for transportation and the Stomach for ripening the food.
The tongue observation is a very precise indication of the source of the larger problem that the patient has.
The most important aspects of the tongue are the colour, shape and coating.
The external factors of food, drugs and self-care can also influence the tongue colour and coating.
The centre of the tongue indicates the most about the digestion history of the patient.
To understand the state of the heart, look way back at the root of the tongue for redness.
If the tongue is very pale, it indicates a very high fever is imminent and the coating would be white.
The sides of the tongue are swollen, with crevices and red, indicating frostbite on the extremities.
The tongue is a reddish purple especially around the tip, you question the patient further about his/her cardiac.