If you have never had acupuncture or herbal treatments, the
intern or clinician always asks to see your tongue. I still have
regular patients that I see in the main clinic in Lombard who think
the practice of sticking out their tongue for five seconds is very
silly and awkward, but it is a necessary diagnostic tool in Chinese
In fact, the tongue is one of the most important diagnostic
areas in ancient medical traditions. Your tongue, containing water,
electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes, is a very sensitive organ and its
appearance changes with many physical changes in the body. In TCM,
the tongue represents the organs in in our body, for example the
tip of your tongue represents the Heart and Lung, the sides of the
Liver and Gallbladder.
Have you are ever curious about what your tongue looks like?
Wonder if you're coming down with a cold? Stick out your tongue and
say "Ah!" Or at least give it a glance. Get in front of the mirror
and look at your tongue right now. What does your tongue look like?
Here is what you want to see: A normal tongue should be pink,
muscular without tooth marking or discoloration, and have a very
thin clear coating.
When I exam patients' tongues I am looking at the color of the
tongue, texture, and if there is a coating on the tongue (usually
white, yellow, black, or clear) or no coating. I look at the tip,
both sides of the tongue and back of the tongue. In addition, I ask
patients to show me the underneath of their tongue where sublingual
veins are located.
I always advise patients not to brush their tongue if they think
they are coming into the clinic. The reason for this is because I
need to see the tongue's true physical state. If you brush your
tongue, it is physically altered, and this will affect the accuracy
of the tongue diagnosis.
Your tongue is one of the easiest ways to check your health
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