The Tongue and Chinese Medicine

Ever wondered what your Chinese Medicine Practitioner is looking for when asking you to stick out your tongue?   Here’s a great diagram that shows just that.


Pale tongue body:  This can show either qi, yang, or blood deficiency.   A pale tongue is common for people when they are feeling fatigued and for women after their period.

Bright red tongue body:  A very red tongue shows heat in the body.   A red tip may indicate insomnia. Someone with a very red tongue should probably avoid spicy foods, cigarettes,  alcohol, and anything that adds extra heat into their system.

Thick coating on the tongue:  A coat is normally first thing in the morning, during Spleen and Stomach time.  After this, a thick coat shows an excess of some kind.  It may be excess heat or cold, or dampness in the body.  If you see a thick coat on your tongue, it might be time to avoid damp-producing foods such as dairy, greasy foods, simple carbohydrates/sugars, and alcohol.

No coat with a dry tongue:  This tongue shows yin deficiency, and may be accompanied by deep cracks which by itself is also another sign of yin deficiency.  Make sure you get early nights and don’t stay up late staring at a computer screen.  This drains the yin from your eyes resulting in dry and itchy eyes.  Royal Jelly is a fantastic yin tonic.

Purplish tongue color:  We call this purplish color ‘dusky’ and it shows stagnation of some kind, either qi or blood stagnation.   This is a common tongue when people have been sitting for too long or for women just before a period begins.  If your tongue looks like this, its time to get off the computer and get outside for a walk, breathe deeply and get your qi moving!

Resources and Bibliography

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post, I always wondered all that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine Argyros says:

      Thanks, this was requested by a client. I thought it was a great idea too.


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