What Your Tongue Says About Your Health According To Ayurvedic Wisdom
Your tongue is a powerful and primary diagnostic tool in determining your state of health. According to Ayurveda, when digestion is working well, it influences all aspects of one’s health. By observing shape, color, cracks, coating, and more, assessments can be made about your overall health and well-being. You may not think about it, but your tongue is the beginning of the digestive tract.
But, if you’re like the majority of people, you probably overlook the appearance of your tongue and think nothing of it. After all, western medicine largely ignores the tongue and the wisdom it offers. Fortunately for you, from today onward, you will never look at your tongue the same way. Instead, you will have a newfound appreciation for this incredible organ and learn how to use it as a resource to detect bodily imbalances.
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How Ayurvedic Tongue Wisdom Ties in With Your Health
In Ayurveda, the tongue is used in a multifold assessment approach. It tells us one’s constitution by revealing your doshic picture. Vata tongues are narrow. Pitta tongues are medium width and pointed at the tip. Kapha tongues are wide and thick. In addition to providing insights into your unique constitution, the tongue can also be used to isolate other bodily imbalances such as digestive issues, dietary deficiencies, and more. Below is an Ayurvedic tongue map. This map illustrates the connection between the areas of the tongue and the associated organs and the overall state of health. For example, if you notice a white coating present on the back of your tongue near your tonsils, this indicates the presence of ama, or toxins, in your colon. In contrast, a coating in the middle of the tongue indicates toxins are present throughout the gastrointestinal area.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha Type Tongues
Vata dosha type tongues are typically dry, narrow, smaller, dry, rough, and may move more.
Pitta dosha type tongues are reddish, medium-sized, may be somewhat dry, and have a pointed tip.
Kapha dosha type tongues are large, thick, wet and maybe light pink.
Different Tongues and What They are Saying
Tongues do not get tongue-tied. They speak the truth. To illustrate how the tongue can be used as a diagnostic tool, here are a handful of actual case studies, alongside a description of what their tongues were indicating about their doshic picture and state of health.
Deep cracks such as those shown on this tongue indicate a Vata imbalance. The location of the cracks is also telling, as this indicates which organs or bodily areas have a Vata aggravation. In this case, the center vertical line indicates issues with the spine while the red coloring indicates a Pitta imbalance. Additionally, the outer ridges indicate malabsorption in the digestive system.
A deep crack running down the center of the tongue may indicate Vata aggravation as strain in the nervous system or spinal stress.
A puffy red tongue, such as this example, may indicate inflammation, hypothyroid, and fluid retention. A “swollen tongue” may indicate stagnant lymph.
Thick white coating on the tongue indicates the presence of ama, or toxins, in the body. In this instance, the client had a parasitic infection, had lost his appetite completely, and was unable to eat properly, as he was reactive to everything. He experienced chronic digestive issues and suffered from lethargy. His appetite returned and he is on his way.
A “boggy tongue” indicates a digestive fire that has been snuffed out. This typically results in a pale, wet, coated, and even swollen tongue depending on what the body type is.
How to Assess What Your Tongue is Trying to Tell You
When you are healthy, the tongue will typically be pink in color and moist. The shade of pink can vary, but it will be consistent from the tip to the back of your tongue. When your in good health and well-balanced, your tongue will be smooth and free from cracks or grooves.
To assess your tongue health, head over to your bathroom mirror, stick out your tongue, and observe what you see. If it helps, take a picture so you can analyze it more closely.
Here are a handful of tongue-related aesthetics you might notice:
Ridged edges or Scallops
If your tongue appears bumpy, with ridged outer edges, this may be an indication your body is not absorbing the nutrients in the digestive tract as it needs to function at an optimal level. To address this, eat food as close to its natural state as possible and try to remove artificial sweeteners and food with toxic additives (such as fast food) from your diet. Focus on warm, moist, well-cooked, and correctly spiced foods.
By using food as medicine and becoming conscious of what you’re consuming, as well as the impact it has on your body, you will greatly improve your digestion, elimination, and overall wellbeing.
Red and swollen
Swollen, puffy tongues may be a sign of inflammation. This can also indicate a Kapha imbalance such as fluid retention or non-optimal functioning of the all-important thyroid.
White coating- ama on the tongue
If your tongue has a thick white coating on it, this is an indication of ama (toxins) in your body. White coating may appear in individuals with weakened immune systems, but can also be an indicator that ama is present.
Clean your tongue every morning with a tongue scraper to remove ama on the tongue and stimulates healthy digestion and elimination. Also, start your morning with a glass of hot water to help your body flush the toxins from your digestive system.
If you have a pale tongue (almost like a washed-out or faded pink), this indicates stagnation in your lymph nodes and blood. Typically, when your tongue is pale, you will also notice that Agni, or digestive strength, is weaker than usual. To combat this, sip on your custom Saumya Digestive Detox tea throughout the day.
Foam on the tongue can correlate with candida (a yeast-like overgrowth). Candida is caused and fed by the prevalence of too much sugar in the diet. If someone has a foamy tongue, it is best to avoid sugar, especially refined sugar.
Black or brown coating
Assuming you didn’t just eat chocolate cake or drink a large cup of coffee, brown or black coating on your tongue indicates a significant Vata imbalance and often a history of constipation.
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