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10 Reasons Why Your Tongue Reflects Your Overall Health


Our tongue is one of the strongest muscles in our body, and it can provide many important clues about the state of our health according to traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Our tongues are linked intimately to the systems, organs, and ailments within our body so say ahhhh!


The tongue is a diagnostic tool for practitioners of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for good reason. A variety of factors are taken into consideration in a tongue examination. The size, color, texture, and shape of the tongue are all important details. The tongue, though small it may be, is like a map reflecting the journey your body has taken. Every ridge, bump, indentation, and crease is like a well-worn rut your body experienced. The key to reading this map is to understand how your body’s systems and organs correspond in locations on the tongue. There is a helpful chart for this located here.

The majority of examples that we are going to be looking at today involve the color and texture of the tongue because these are the easiest to self-diagnose. Before we get started, here is a quick rule of thumb: a healthy tongue is normally pink in hue, not a pale pink and not a screaming, red-flag raising shade of red.

White Tongue

A thin layer of white on the tongue is considered normal if you can scrape it off. The color of your tongue can vary at different parts of the day because of the influence of food, beverages, and medicine.

A creamy, thick, white coating on the tongue can be indicative of oral candidiasis (OC) or oral thrush. This condition is an oral overgrowth of yeast that manifests itself in a cottage-cheese like coating.

The most common cause of a white coating on the tongue is a dry mouth. Dr. Axe recommends brushing at least twice daily as the best precaution. A white tongue may even indicate that a person is intoxicated. Here are some other possible indications of a white tongue:

• Fever
• Illness or infection
• Adverse reaction to medications including antibiotics and steroids
• Spicy foods
• Congenital heart disease in adults
• Fungal infection

Strawberry Red Tongue

Your tongue should be a healthy, vibrant pink. However, if your tongue is fire engine red this should ring a bell of alarm. A red tongue can indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency, infectious diseases, and inflammatory processes. If the tongue is bright red, it can indicate blood diseases and heart disorders.

Brown or Black Fuzzy Tongue

The tongue can develop brown or black fuzz on the surface due to smoking and poor oral hygiene. However, this unsightly fuzz can also be attributed to drinking beverages like tea and coffee. A brown coating on the tongue without hairy fuzz indicates lung issues.

Fissured Tongue

A fissured tongue can indicate psoriasis. Tongue fissures are common in 6 to 20% of patients with a psoriasis skin disorder. These cracks on your tongue may also be indicative of aging just like wrinkles on your outer skin.

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Red Lesions on Tongue

If the tongue shows persistent red lesions that don’t go away within several weeks, it may be a cause for concern. Some cases have turned out to be cancer so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Yellow Tongue

A yellow tongue can indicate stomach or liver problems. A yellow tinged tongue may also be a sign of bacterial overgrowth.

Purple Tongue

A faint purple cast to the surface of the tongue can be indicative of lung and respiration dysfunction. The purple is not a bright shade, but rather a subtle, lavender tint.

Blue Tongue

A faint, bluish tint to the surface of the tongue can be indicative of kidney dysfunction. It is similar in appearance to the stain left after you consume blueberries.

Pale Tongue

A pale tongue can indicate vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalance in women, and anemia. This is understandable considering that the tissue would be suffering without proper nutrition.

Scalloped Tongue

A swollen tongue that retains the impression of your teeth upon examination with scalloped edges may be indicative of thyroid dysfunction. Another way to explain this would be that it is inflammation of the tongue.


In conclusion, it is important to keep in mind that it can be difficult to pinpoint disorders and conditions with just a tongue symptom. Always rely on medical professionals for a proper diagnosis. Our tongue can be a valuable road map in our health journey because it may point out areas of our body that are unhealthy before more drastic symptoms arise. The tongue is a helpful tool because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!