SIZE AND SHAPE
To examine your tongue, extend it comfortably. Observe
the shape, color and moistness. Observe any cracks, trembling,
ridges and scallops. Notice if the tongue has a coating,
and if so, the color of the coating. These signs are code,
which, when deciphered, reveals the story of your body’s
- A Vata tongue is small, thin, dry and possibly brownish in color. You
may observe slight tremors and twitches.
- A Pitta tongue is broad and tapered at the tip.
The tip is red and the margins are distinct and sharp.
There may be yellow or reddish discoloration.
- A kapha tongue is round, moist, thick and large,
often pale in color and may have a white coating.
of the tongue relates to the lungs, heart,chest and neck.
Froth in this area may indicate low lung energy. The person
may have a cold, bronchitis, asthma or respiratory allergy.
If there is a small depression in the heart area, the person
may have intense sadness, grief or depression. The central
part of the tongue relates to the spleen, stomach, pancreas
and liver. If there is a red patch in the liver and spleen
area, there may be stagnant pitta in that organ. The back
of the tongue relates to the lower abdominal organs, such
as the intestines, colon and kidneys. If you get a reddish
patch in the kidney area, there is excess pitta in the kidneys
which can cause nephritis. If the posterior part of the
tongue is covered with coating it indicates low colon energy.
Ideally a healthy tongue will be pink in color, look
clean, and have no coating. If there is a coating, it may
indicate the presence of ama. Ama is a by- product or sign
of improper digestion. It results from undigested and unabsorbed
Most people have a slight coating at the back of the tongue
which is a sign of toxins in the colon. These people may
be quite healthy, its just ama that has built up in the
stomach or small intestine and moved into the colon. If
the entire tongue is coated, it is a sign of ama throughout
the entire gastrointestinal tract.
If the tongue is white it indicates kapha-type ama and may
indicate accumulation of mucous like qualities; yellowish
green ama is pitta type and may indicate some heat in the
body; and brownish-black is vata type ama, which may indicate
dryness in the body.
Whatever happens along the spine is expressed along
the midline of the tongue. The part of the line near the
tip of the tongue indicates the neck, the middle the mid
thorax and the back of the tongue is the lower back. A straight
line along the middle for example indicates stress along
the spine. If the line is deeply furrowed it may indicate
the person is holding emotions making the back stiff.
One of the best ways to keep the tongue healthy is by
scraping it daily. This removes overnight buildup of bacteria
and toxins on the tongue.
To do this, extend the tongue and place the scraper
as far back on the tongue as is comfortable. Gently scrape
from the back or base of the tongue using one long stroke,
until you have scraped the whole surface. Rinse the scraper
and begin again. Do this until the tongue feels clean and
is free of coating. Aurveda says that scraping the tongue
should only be done in the morning on an empty stomach.
In addition to removing bacteria from the tongue, scraping
sends an indirect message to all the internal organs and
stimulates gastric fire and digestive enzymes and keeps
the breath fresh.