Traditional Medicine has known for some time that the tongue is a tiny map of the body’s organs. By knowing a couple of things to look for you can get a rough idea of what you need to focus on to get healthy. Here is a simplified version of how to read your tongue.The tongue is one of the only places on the body you can physically see ama/toxins.
1. Ama on the tongue shows up as a sludgy type of mucous that will coat an area of the tongue. Ama will show up as 3 different colors:
Yellow is Pitta.
Grey is Vata.
White is Kapha.
(Ama is usually a sign that there is stagnation in the area of the tongue it is covering.)
Tongue scraping is a great method whenever there is ama on the tongue to help remove toxins from reentering the digestive system, it also helps remove bacteria that causes bad breath.
2. Cracks in the tongue are a sign of dehydration. Deep cracks are a sign that someone is severely dehydrated in the tissues for a long period of time. (Cracks are considered overall as a sign of Vata imbalance.)
Make sure to stay hydrated properly which I talk about in my post Is Water Drying you Out?
3. Scalloping (which looks like your teeth indented your tongue) is a sign of malabsorption. Malabsorption can come from:
Not eating enough nutrient rich food.
Fecal matter staying in your digestion for too long (Vata).
Fecal matter eliminating too quickly (Pitta)
Low digestive fire.
The one tip that can help the last three is eating and cooking with neutral spices such as fennel that help bring the digestive fire back into balance.
The best time to check your tongue is before brushing your teeth in the morning.
Do want more information on reading your tongue? Check out Dr. Lad’s Book, Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing: A Practical Guide.