Articles, Blog

Tongue Diagnosis

August 31, 2019

Hello! I am Liu Tingting from London Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here I would like to do a brief introduction of Tongue Diagnosis. Tongue Diagnosis is an important part of diagnosis in Chinese Medicine, which refers to by inspecting the shape, size, colour and moisture of the tongue body and its coating to diagnose disease. Why can we use the tongue as an evidence of diagnosing diseases? We need to answer that question by understanding the basis of Tongue Diagnosis in traditional Chinese Medical theory. The tongue is closely related to Zangfu organs. he Heart opens at the tongue, the movement of the tongue is controlled by the Heart spirit, the Spleen meridian connects with the tongue, and the taste of sensation of the tongue is mainly dominated by the Spleen, and there are many other descriptions in Chinese Medical theories. The tongue is also nourished by Qi and Blood, and it is moistened by Body Fluids. Therefore, the tongue can reflect the condition of Zangfu organs, Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids. And examination of the tongue is extremely important in diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and prevention of diseases. And what should we inspect when doing tongue diagnosis? Inspection of the tongue mainly includes the examination of the tongue body and tongue coating. Tongue body refers to musculature and vascular tissue of the tongue, also referring to tongue substance. Inspection of the tongue body includes examining the colour, shape, texture and movement of the tongue, which reflect the condition of Zangfu organs, Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids. Tongue coating is a layer of moss-like material covering on the surface of the tongue. Inspection of the tongue coating includes examination of the texture and colour of it. Therefore, pathologically, tongue coating reflects the location and nature of diseases, as well as the condition of healthy Qi. Now let’s take a look at what does a normal tongue look like? This picture is from a normal person. The normal tongue body is soft, flexible, pale-red, and not too large, not too small. The normal tongue coating is white, thin, which is neither dry, nor greasy or slippery, closely attached to the surface of the tongue, distributed more on the centre and root, but less on the margins and tip. The normal tongue is usually described as “Pale-red tongue with thin and white coating”, which suggests normal functions of Zangfu organs, sufficient Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids. Why Tongue Diagnosis is so important in clinical practise? We need to understand this from its five aspects of clinical significance. The first aspect, indicating exuberance and debilitation of healthy Qi and pathogenic Qi. Generally, healthy Qi manifests on the tongue body and pathogenic Qi manifests on tongue coating. See the pictures, Pale-red and flexible tongue means that healthy Qi is exuberant, Qi and Blood is abundant and flow smoothly; the pale tongue may suggest Qi and Blood deficiency. Thin, white and moist coating means no morbid condition on the patient, or the pathogenic Qi is not severe; thick coating means pathogenic Qi is exuberant. The second aspect, distinguishing the nature of disease. Tongue manifestation can reflect the nature of diseases, for an example, thin, white coating, see the picture on the left, indicates wind-cold external contraction; white and slimy coating, see the picture on the right, indicates phlegm-dampness retention and etc. The third aspect, differentiating the degree of disease. The degree of diseases can reflect on the tongue coating, while the severity of disease manifest on both tongue body and tongue coating. For an example, during external contracted disease, thin and white coating, see the picture on the left, indicates the early stage of a disease; red tongue with yellow and thick coating, see the picture on the right, indicates that the pathogen has entered interior Qi aspect and the morbid condition is severe; crimson tongue, see the picture on the left, indicates that the pathogen has reached nutrient aspect; and the dark and purple tongue with little or without coating, see the picture on the right, indicates that the pathogen has entered Blood aspect. The fourth aspect, the changes of tongue can also indicate progress of disease. If the coating colour changes from white to yellow, from yellow to black, or the tongue coating changes from thin to thick, from moisture to dryness, it indicates that the pathogen enters the interior or disease changes into severe, or disease changes form cold into heat syndrome, or leading to fluid damage. On the contrary, if the tongue coating changes from thick to thin, from yellow to white, from dryness to moisture, it means that the disease condition is getting better. The fifth aspect, the changes of tongue also can indicate prognosis of disease. Luxuriant tongue with normal movement and white thin coating indicates pathogenic Qi is not exuberant and healthy Qi is still sufficient, stomach Qi is still strong, the patient’s prognosis is favourable; while withered tongue with abnormal movement, and tongue coating has no root, which indicates deficiency of healthy Qi and debilitation of stomach Qi the patient’s condition is critical Through the observation of the tongue, many physiological conditions and pathological changes of the body can be detected. The tongue diagnosis is easy to perform and tongue manifestation can reflect disease conditions. Why don’t you spend several seconds to take a look at your tongue when you look at yourself in the mirror every day, not only for your beauty, but more importantly for your health! Thank you for being with us!Good bye!


  • Reply Barco E Kaitama December 19, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing ….very interesting

  • Reply slQueenBluestar October 8, 2015 at 11:32 am

    London? England is a WHITE nation and WESTERN culture.


  • Reply baumfrei October 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you very much for your infomation! Best regards from Germay

  • Reply Kim Sour November 28, 2015 at 8:39 am

    how can we solve that problem?

  • Reply Kim Sour November 28, 2015 at 8:42 am

    i got a white coating on my tongue and smell so bad. i remembered before i had a white coating on my tongue my mouth is not a bad smell.

  • Reply pat panich December 17, 2015 at 3:36 am


  • Reply Occam February 10, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Come on love, speed it up a bit, i appreciate your great knowledge on tongue diagnosis but you need some charisma otherwise you sound like a voice bot.

  • Reply JamesrPQ February 29, 2016 at 12:17 am

    That's as clear as mud.

  • Reply Thefaceoftheword crook and flail April 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    this includes all family in Puerto Rico even my closest family and people who know but don't really know me those who are educated in the devil's kingdom

  • Reply Peter Nolan September 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    My ex girlfriends tongue needs cutting out will that cure her ?

  • Reply Doctor Bear November 6, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Awesome job! Very easy to listen to.

  • Reply Ramon Silvano December 21, 2016 at 11:20 am

    great discussion

  • Reply Mimi Katrine March 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    i have a white tongue what does that mean? and am i suffering from,knowing that it makes my mouth smalls bad..plz help

  • Reply UR3ANFISH May 4, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Is that a woman or a robot?

  • Reply Rudresh Sajjan October 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Very good and informative; DO NOT worry about her English, get the context; appreciate her FREE video tutorials, stop criticizing. TCM DIAGNOSIS: Tongue diagnosis is the root of TCM principles plus easy to perform for doctors like us compared to elusive pulse diagnosis. Nearly in all complicated conditions of conflicting patterns, tongue diagnosis indicates accurate and precise info that leads to accurate diagnosis without costly laboratory and diagnostic imaging studies. My God bless you. Do not be concerned about criticisms from illiterates…..

  • Reply alihaiderbaig haider August 13, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Dr norin please u
    Contact me please my no

  • Leave a Reply