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Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How?

Updated: Apr 26

What is Tongue Scraping? Here’s everything you need to know about Ayurvedic tongue scraping 👅and its many benefits and how to do it. Have you wondered what's behind that coating on your tongue? Learn about ama, the forerunner of disease according to Ayurveda.

woman with tongue cleaner

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.

As always with our Ayurvedic practices, our focus, intentions and habits center around a set of tried-and-true tools that when combined, help us to reduce ama (toxins) and improve our overall wellbeing.

When we use tongue scraping as part of a comprehensive, yet manageable Ayurveda plan, it will benefit all who consistently uses tongue scraping.

Just as we sweep and clean the entryway of our home, we take good care of ourselves by cleaning our tongue daily. Removing ama from the tongue offers a multitude of benefits for our overall health.

According to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio--brush, floss, scrape! Indeed, studies suggest that "tongue scraping can remove bacteria and improve bad breath more than brushing."

tongue scraper and Ayurveda swooshing oil

What's that white coating on my tongue?

If your tongue has a thick white coating on it, this is an indication of ama (toxins) in your body. A coating is an indicator that ama, or toxins are present.

“We want to remove the coating of ama from the tongue as that supports good oral and digestive health. It is more important to understand that what is showing up on the tongue is reflective of the ama in our bodies and minds. We need remove the ama systematically from the whole person.”

-Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


“Āma denotes the abnormal or impaired process of digestion and metabolism that leads to build up of toxic by-products, which cannot be neutralized or eliminated by the body.” (National Institute of Health.)

Ayurveda Tongue Diagnosis Treatment Case Study

Cleaning your tongue every morning with a tongue scraper removes ama on the tongue and stimulates healthy digestion and elimination. (see the Ayurveda organ tongue map below.) Also start your morning with a glass of hot water to help your body flush the toxins from your digestive system.

In Ayurveda, we use tongue scraping to perform an inner and outer cleansing or detox every morning. Tongue scraping involves gently gliding a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper from the back of the tongue forward to remove toxins. Tongue scraping is a simple and effective way of detoxing every day.

How To Use A Tongue Scraper

Think of this Ayurveda practices as tongue cleaning versus tongue scraping. Tongue cleaning is a gentle process. Avoid applying pressure, rather gently glide the tongue cleaner across the tongue.


1.      Use the tongue cleaner at the beginning of your day, before breakfast. The best time to do tongue cleaning is in the morning after brushing your teeth.

2.      Lightly hold the tongue cleaner in one or both hands, depending on the size of your hands and your preference.

3.      Extend your tongue out, place the tongue cleaner as far back on the tongue as is comfortable. This should be a pleasant process and not something that causes you to gag, etc. Over time you may find you can comfortably place the tongue cleaner further back. No need to push anything.

4.      Now, very lightly and gently glide the tongue cleaner from the back of the tongue to the front. You will see the coating being removed.

5.      You may need to do 3-5 passes, rinse the tongue cleaner after each pass.

6.      Wipe it off with an alcohol swab at the end of each session or rinse it under hot, soapy water.

7.      Stainless steel is antimicrobial and a good option for all dosha types.

bunch of fresh cilantro used in Ayurveda for cleansing

Tongue cleaning is a simple and important part of Ayurvedic daily cleansing. Explore more about our Seasonal Cleanses and Detoxes Our bodies and minds build up ama - toxins and energetic gunk - as we move throughout the world. Every day, we’re assaulted with more than we can digest: food, stimulation, stress, environmental pollutants... the list goes on and on. An ounce of prevention? What a difference it makes! Regular cleansing helps us reset, repair, rest, and rejuvenate. When the tsunami of stimulation ceases, our bodies and minds know what to do. In the gentle slowness of cleansing time – we heal.


“I was looking for a home cleansing program and Saumya Ayurveda delivered! I work full time, have a family, sports, commute, --and this cleanse was manageable! I had such a positive cleanse experience; I plan to do it again and I have it on my planner already." - A.B., White Bear Lake, MN


Ayurveda Cleansing Resources on the Saumya Blog:

woman gliding tongue scaper across tongue gently

Tongue Scraping Benefits - What is It Good For?

Tongue scraping supports our inner wellbeing and overall health. When you begin daily tongue scraping, you’ll see the benefits right away. When you look in the mirror upon rising, stick out your tongue, you'll likely see a coating on it. Using a tongue scraper, you will slowly begin to remove that coating of ama. That's pretty rewarding in and of itself. How else will you benefit?

There is a map on the tongue that corresponds to organs such as the lungs, the heart, stomach, liver, spleen, GI tract, pancreas, etc. Using a tongue scraper, as part of an Ayurvedic morning routine, gently removes ama, or toxins, from the tongue while simultaneously massaging the internal organs.

Tongue scraping directly supports overall health and healthy digestion, which begins in the mouth.

Keep in mind that ama on the tongue is not only indicating toxins in the oral cavity, it is also showing ama in various parts of the body and mind. (More on ama later in this article.) Tongue scraping removes ama on the tongue and it helps remove ama from the whole you.

tongue map of organs

Tongue Scraping Benefits

1. In terms of oral health, people enjoy a fresh, clean, healthy mouth (let's face it, bad breath is a bit embarrassing).

2. Tongue scraping removes bacteria, toxins, and dead cells from the oral cavity –which enhances the sense of taste and when the bacterial flora of the mouth is balanced, tongue scraping supports a healthy mouth.

3. Tongue scraping also removes food debris which helps to keep bacteria at bay. It is bacteria that causes cavities, which also lead to other issues such as receding and bleeding gums.

4. When the flora in the mouth is balanced, the mouth is fresh and digestion benefits since what comes from the mouth flows downstream through the digestive tract. 5. Tongue scraping provides a gentle massage of the internal organs.

With the practice of tongue scraping, our awareness increases of our overall health. How? Every morning we'll notice our tongue, and by observing it, we'll see what is happening on the tongue and what is happening on the inside of the body.

Enhance your Ayurveda morning routine and preventive self care with Ayurvedic oil pulling:

woman with binoculars

Tongue scraping, as part of our daily morning Ayurvedic routine, helps us keep an eye on things--inside and out.

Tongue scraping increases our awareness of our health, providing us insights into our insides. We carry within us a powerful diagnostic tool-the tongue. By observing shape, color, cracks, coating, and more--assessments can be made about overall health.

It is easy to notice the coating on the tongue--how to interpret the coating, (and several other important pieces of information the tongue is trying to tell us; such as the cracks, the color and so forth), is a good job for a seasoned Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. Contact Saumya Ayurveda for a free phone consultation.

Tongue Scraping Benefits - Who is It Good For? Vata, Pitta and Kapha Types

Tongue scraping is a great place to start integrating Ayurveda's 5,000 years’ worth of wisdom and tools for your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Let's face it, no matter how careful we are, we're constantly exposed to toxins in our food and the environment in which we live. If we are not digesting, assimilating, and eliminating optimally--we're in our own metabolic waste.

Got stress? Add that under the category of emotional toxins. When these various forms of toxins, or ama, are not digested sufficiently, it negatively impacts our health and wellbeing. In other words--we feel it! Peruse 30 Reasons Why You Need an Ayurveda Emotional Detox and How to Detox Emotionally|10 Ayurvedic Practices for Emotional Cleansing.

woman blowing nose image shows sinus locations

Some (not all) Signs of Ama

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image tongue with ama coating

Systemic, thick coating of ama.

What is Ama in Ayurveda?

Systemic ama means toxins or undigested metabolic waste. Think of ama as all the stuff we don't want to hang around inside of us. Physically ama is LDL/bad cholesterol, germs, and undigested, and unabsorbed food. Ama can accumulate in the body and mind due to weak digestion, poor elimination, consuming foods that are incorrect for us personally, and from our lifestyle choices.

Ama gunks up the channels in our body and interferes with nutrients getting to where they need to go on a cellular level, and ama interferes with the removal of waste. Can you imagine walking around with trash in your car for weeks, months, and even years? According to Ayurveda, ama is the precursor to disease! It's easy to see why it's important to remove ama.

stacked rocks tipping over

How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?

Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances:

As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image mature woman breathing and looking peaceful

“I feel much, much better. Amazing. Digestive issues are totally 100% gone. Not an issue at all. I feel great! Blood sugar and lifelong sinus issues, much better. I Feel Ten Years Young and at 76, that really matters."

--Kathy B., Minneapolis, MN

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image desk with notepad saying client testimonials

“Veena has been great. I suffered with burning mouth syndrome for many years. Doctors and dentists had no idea what I was even talking about, much less solutions. Veena knew immediately. Within in a few weeks of using the herbs and protocols she recommended, I am not experiencing any of the symptoms I did previously. And, my thinking is clearer, I am nearly free from hot flashes, and I feel more like myself.

Everything has been easy to incorporate into my life, which is the best part. This feels sustainable. I highly recommend working with Veena.” -– Liz Pfeffer, Albuquerque, New Mexico


“Saumya Ayurveda has helped me to become reborn. With Veena’s help, I have become more than ADHD.

What I experienced with Veena allowed me, not only a general understanding of health, but sparked a lifelong journey to use my knowledge to advance the acceptance of Ayurveda as a needed modality of health. This is a feat, considering I had difficulty focusing and digestive issues only four short years ago.

Veena is a skilled healer with a solution to fit all.” --Jessica B. Naturopath, Molecular Residents, Medical School Student, New York City


“Veena has literally changed my life. I was struggling with mental and physical symptoms that my doctor had no answer for. I thought I was going crazy and just making symptoms up.

With Veena’s guidance, with herbs and diet changes, I soon realized that my symptoms were very real. After making the changes, I made small victories along the way, and became better with each appointment with her.

Now almost 6 months later, I am a completely different person. I still have some things to work on, but with Veena’s help, I know I will be able to take control of my health and not leave it to Western medicine that was giving me little to no help and covering up my symptoms with another medication.

I highly encourage getting the longer, especially if you are working with challenges with your monthly cycle. Working with Veen has been the best decision I have made for my health. You won’t be disappointed!” -- Maria Fumagalli, San Diego, California

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image antique map and compass

Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way

We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.

Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.

Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.

Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.

Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories.

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image of Veena

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How? image tongue map

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