What Your Tongue Says About Your Health
What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

You might not think your tongue is the best indicator of your overall health, but experts from the Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) worlds believe your tongue can tell you a great deal about what’s going on in the rest of your body. Here’s what they want you to know…
By Tor West

Your Tongue Can Provide Clues To Your Wellbeing

“In Chinese medicine, your tongue is the window to your inner health. Every person’s tongue is unique and has distinct characteristics. The tongue is a microcosm of the entire body, and by looking at its shape, colour, coating and texture you are able to see any excess and deficiencies in the body. In TCM, tongue reading is an important part of any consultation as it can help pinpoint any imbalances and digestive issues in the body. There are also different parts of the tongue that correspond to different parts of the body. For example, the tip of the tongue can reveal clues about your heart and lungs, while the centre can hint at tummy troubles. Meanwhile, the sides tell us about the liver and gallbladder, while the back is linked to the kidneys, bladder and intestines.” – Emilia Herting, TCM practitioner & co-founder of Escapada 

Circulation Plays A Part

“A healthy tongue should be mid-pink, with medium thickness – thicker in the middle and thinner towards the edges – and there should be no discernible cracks or ulcers. The sides of the tongue should also be smooth, rather than with indentations like teeth marks. The most common problem that affects tongue health is poor circulation. Primarily, this comes down to being too sedentary, which prevents blood from circulating smoothly. Good circulation is the single most important thing you can do for your health. According to Chinese medicine, when blood doesn’t flow freely, qi – your dominant energy force – stagnates. This enables low-level niggles to get a foothold in the body and develop into a more serious condition. A sedentary lifestyle, too much stress, poor diet, emotional blockages, or low frequencies, such as not being on our life path or following our true purpose, can enable qi to stagnate.” – Katie Brindle, Chinese medicine practitioner & founder of Hayo’u

Your tongue is the WINDOW TO YOUR INNER HEALTH. It can pinpoint any IMBALANCES AND DIGESTIVE ISSUES in the body.

What Should You Be Looking For? Here, Emilia Shares Her Top Tips…

Tongue Shape: “If your tongue is puffy with white teeth marks, this indicates a lack of nutrients and moisture in the body. This can also be a sign of blood stagnations and toxic build-up. On the other hand, a very thin tongue could indicate dehydration or a chronic condition that has left the body severely depleted.”

Tongue Coating: “A thin tongue coating is normal, but a very thin or absent coating means a lack of bodily fluids. It can also be a sign the body is depleted. A yellow coating signals an infection in the body, while a thick, white coating means you have poor circulation and possibly a yeast infection. A thick, colourless coating reflects a more serious condition and poor gut health.”

Tongue Colour: “A red tongue may indicate heat in the body, such as fever or a hormonal imbalance that could lead to hot flushes or temperature changes. A purple tongue is a sign that the circulatory system is backed up, perhaps from a major injury or pain condition. There may also be inflammation or an infection in the body. A pale tongue is a sign of a lack of energy in the body – this is common with people who are anaemic or have a weaker immune system.”

Expert Tips For Improving Your Tongue Health…

Start Oil Pulling

“Swilling oil around the mouth – ideally coconut oil – is one of the best ways to remove bacteria. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed oil pulling purifies your entire system. It believes each section of the tongue is connected to different parts of the body. The oil sucks debris and toxins out of the mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic environment. In fact, research shows oil pulling can be used as an effective remedy in maintaining and improving oral health. It has been shown to be just as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause the buildup of bacteria in the mouth and tongue. Coconut oil is highly absorbable and has the power to kill candida. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for ten to 20 minutes, then spit the oil out, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as normal.” – Emilia 

Eat A Balanced Diet

“A poor diet and irregular eating pattern can manifest as a pale and swollen tongue with a sticky coating. In Chinese medicine, this is a sign your body is damp – this can lead to gut issues, tiredness, weight issues, swelling and phlegm production to name a few.” – Emilia 

Invest In A Tongue Scraper

“Cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper dates back to ancient times (it’s been practised for more than 5,000 years). The practice involves scraping your tongue gently with a scraper made from either plastic, copper or stainless steel. The idea behind tongue scraping is that it clears toxins, bacteria and dead cells that build up overnight while you sleep (these toxins are from everything that was ingested the previous day) and prevents the reabsorption of toxins into your body. By removing this coating from the tongue, it can help clear toxins and bacteria that contribute to bad breath; enhance your sense of taste; promote overall oral and digestive health; and gently stimulate your internal organs. Tongue scraping can also help boost your gut health. The idea of tongue scraping is to clear the buildup of bacteria or toxins that can cause oral disease, but also prevent the toxins from moving down your GI tract and damaging your gut health.” – Emilia 

The tip of the tongue can reveal clues about your HEART AND LUNGS, while the centre can hint at TUMMY TROUBLES.

Get Stress Under Control

“A fast-paced life and months or even years of overworking and a chronic lack of sleep will most likely cause the tongue to be redder – particularly with red sides and a red tip – with a lack of coating and horizontal cracks. Known as a yin-deficient tongue, this can translate into symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety and sleep disturbances.” – Emilia 

Prioritise Sleep

“If your tongue is pale with teeth marks on the sides, it may suggest you are overly tired. When you are exhausted, the muscles of the tongue don’t have the energy to hold itself in place properly, so in its overly soft state, it literally takes the shape of the teeth it rests against. In an ideal world, a healthy tongue should be mid-pink with a medium thickness. There should be no discernible cracks or ulcers. If you notice these signs, it is imperative you get more quality sleep.” – Katie 

Try Gua Sha

“‘Gua’ means to press, while ‘sha’ describes the temporary red flush that results from gua sha. This ancient technique allows you to work deeply into the muscles and fascia of the face and body for superb tension release, removing build-up of lactic acid, encouraging lymphatic drainage, clearing congestion, inflammation and heat, and boosting circulation for the all-important free flow of qi and blood around the body.” – Katie 

Get Some Headspace

“Breathing is the number-one healing modality and the single most effective way to reduce your stress levels is to take conscious, deep, abdominal breaths. By moving your awareness out of your head and into your breath your heart rate slows, your mind is calmed, and your blood is oxygenated. Proper breathing is one of the best ways to stimulate the vagus nerve, which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, your body's rest mode. This simple technique can be done anywhere, at any time. If possible, try and include several times a day. At the same time, 20 minutes of meditation can be as beneficial as four hours of deep sleep – it will control stress levels, which will have a knock-on effect on controlling heat and inflammation in the body, which is essential for the health and wellbeing of all your organs.” – Katie


Escapada offers in-person and virtual tongue consultations as part of its wider Health Consultation – visit EscapadaHealth.com for more information. Katie offers virtual consultations, which include a tongue health diagnosis, for £150 for 30 minutes (longer sessions are also available). Visit KatieBrindle.com for more information or to book an appointment.

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

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