What Your Tongue Says About Your Health (According to Ayurvedic Wisdom)

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Your tongue is a powerful diagnostic tool. By observing shape, color, cracks, coating, and more, assessments can be made about your overall health and well-being.

But, if you’re like the majority of people you probably overlook the appearance of your tongue and think nothing of it. After all, western medicine largely ignores the tongue and the wisdom it offers.

Fortunately for you, from today onward you will never look at your tongue the same way. Instead, you will have a newfound appreciation for this incredible organ and learn how to use it as a resource to detect bodily imbalances.

Ready to get started? Open wide!

How Ayurvedic Wisdom Ties in With Tongue Health

In Ayurveda, the tongue is used in a multifold assessment approach. It tells us one's constitution by revealing your dominant dosha.

Vata tongues are narrow. Pitta tongues are medium width and pointed at the tip. Kapha tongues are wide and thick. In addition to providing insights into your unique constitution, the tongue can also be used to isolate other bodily imbalances such as digestive issues, dietary deficiencies, and more.

Below is an Ayurvedic tongue map. This map illustrates the connection between the areas of the tongue and the associated organs.

For example, if you notice a white coating present on the back of your tongue near your tonsils, this indicates the presence of ama, or toxins, in your colon. In contrast, a coating in the middle of the tongue indicates toxins are present throughout the gastrointestinal area.

Different Tongues and What They Mean

To illustrate how the tongue can be used as a diagnostic tool, here are a handful of actual case studies, alongside a description of what their tongues were indicating about their current state of health.

Deep cracks such as those shown on this tongue indicate a Vata imbalance. The location of the cracks is also telling, as this indicates which organs or bodily areas have a Vata aggravation. In this case, the center vertical line indicates issues with the spine while the red coloring indicates a Pitta imbalance. Additionally, the outer ridges indicate malabsorption in the digestive system.

The appearance of multiple cracks, such as those shown on this tongue, indicates chronic Vata aggravations such as anxiety, fear, sleep issues, and nervous system debility. If cracks are located on only one area, it indicates Vata in the correlating organ or area.

A puffy red tongue, such as this example, may indicate inflammation, hypothyroid, and fluid retention.