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Future smart phone app warns of health risks with tongue analysis

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
A new smart phone application can tell you if you need to go to the doctor.

Researchers at Michigan University have developed software that uses tongue analysis to tell you if you need to go see a doctor. The system is based on 5,000 year old Chinese medicine practice that uses the tongue to tell a person’s general state of health, or zheng. Analyzing the appearance of the tongue is just one of the techniques used in Chinese medicine to measure the body’s energy balance and overall state of well-being that researchers hope to develop for smart phone use.

What your tongue reveals about your health

The MU researchers studied 263 gastritis patients and 48 healthy volunteers who had their tongues analyzed. If the tongue has shades of red or yellow, your zheng is hot – a white coated tongue means “cold zheng”

Hot and cold zheng don’t reflect body temperature, but rather symptoms that reflect the body’s whole state of health. Hot or cold zheng can signal stomach infection, such as H. pylori.

The study group was classified as to whether they were known to have Helicobacter pylori infection and severity of gastritis symptoms. The bacteria cause inflammation of the stomach. They also had their zheng tested so the researchers could tell if the software was accurate.

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They found the tongue analysis software correlated with overall zheng health status.

The researchers hope to add the software application to smart phones so anyone can take an analysis of their tongue to show their zheng state.

Dong Xu, chair of MU’s computer science department in the College of Engineering and study co-author said in a media release, “Our software helps bridge Eastern and Western medicine, since an imbalance in zheng could serve as a warning to go see a doctor.

Within a year, our ultimate goal is to create an application for smartphones that will allow anyone to take a photo of their tongue and learn the status of their zheng”

The study finding, published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, means next year you might be able to use your smart phone to check your health risk with a tongue analysis. If your zheng is out of balance, you’ll know it’s time to go to the doctor.

MU News Bureau
May 24, 2012

Updated February 26, 2014



An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your website.