The Tongue

Many Chinese medicine specialists look at a patient’s tongue as part of the initial examination. As conventional doctors often look at the throat this type of examination doesn’t seem too out of place. But with Chinese medicine the tongue is a good indication of what is happening throughout various parts of the body.
The colour of the tongue gives a good indication of how smoothly blood and Qi are flowing, if there is a temperature problem, or if things are generally balanced. Dark red of purple spots indicate problems.
The tongues coating shows something about the kidneys and spleen. The colour, thickness and location of the coating help to narrow down the cause of the trouble.
The tip of the tongue indicates the state of the heart. We believe there is a close link between the heart and the tongue.
The kidneys are represented by the back of the tongue, as are the bladder and intestines. The spleen and stomach by the middle.
Ideally the tongue should be examined in natural light, and show a natural pink of light red colour.
Food and drink can affect the tongue’s coating, perhaps preventing a problem from being discovered. Removing the coating with a toothbrush can have the same effect, so should be avoided on the day of an examination.

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