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Learn About The Color of Tongue

Updated on September 28, 2010

Just by opening our mouth and stick out our tongue, the doctor is able to get the initial allegations about our disease, that's why many experts of Chinese medicine often ask their patients to stick out the tongue too.

I learned this from the Korean series, "Dae Jang Geum" from the first time, that tongue's color may determine your health condition. And not just from your tongue, your face color, your hair, your skin will also determine your health. Even, they learn to read the pulse which also has many shapes and characteristics.
But now, let's just learn about the color of tongue. The normal color of tongue is pink with tiny bumps called papillae, but sometime the tongue color may change if your body's condition change.

1. Purple

Purple tongue could indicate that our blood circulation is not well. It may caused by chronic stress, or you are experiencing chronic body aches. Purple tongue also indicate that the person is in fever. If there is purple spot in your tongue, you have to check the liver.
Serious causes of purple tongue lesions include Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) a kind of tumor caused by Human herpes virus 8 (HHV8). Smoking also may turn your lips and tongue purple.

But purple tongue is also caused by food like if you're consuming food with purple color like beets, colored drinks, candy, etc.

Advise : See a doctor for the disease and stop smoking.

Chinese traditional treatment : Can be treated with acupuncture, cupping, or gua-sha technique (healing technique that involves touching examination) to accelerate blood circulation, detoxify and relax tense muscles. You have to add some warm ingredients to your diet like garlic, coriander, and ginger.

2. White

There is a problem in the digestive system or poor diet. It may caused by consuming much sugar or refined carbohydrates like white flour, starchy vegetables (corn), pasta, rice, etc.

Advise : Change the diet and reducing sugar.

Chinese traditional treatment : Acupuncture, moxibustion (the herbal heating process), and also change the diet.

But if the white color cannot be rubbed off, the causes can be more serious, like HIV and AIDS, Hepatitis C, lupus, and many other serious disease. You have to see the doctor immediately if the white color in your tongue cannot be rubbed off.

3. Yellow

Indicate the excessive body heat because of too much alcohol intake, consuming spicy foods, emotional stress in the long run, or smoking.

Yellow tongue usually goes away itself and is harmless, it may caused by fever and mouth breathing too.

Advise : Gently brushing your tongue with water.

Chinese treatment : Acupuncture, and consuming tonic like peppermint, cilantro, green dandelion to make the body's temperature cooling.

4. Red

Red tongue can be caused by anemia, folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiency, anemia. Some people will feel stress, anxious, restless, and insomnia

Advise : Consuming foods rich in iron such as spinach and liver.

Chinese treatment : Acupuncture, relaxation, consuming Chinese herbal like oats, lemon, lavender, St John's wort plus some Chinese herbs. Or you may consume food that has cooling effect like cucumber, water melon, and green tea.

Part of tongue and the effect of the body
Part of tongue and the effect of the body

5. Brown

Brown tongue is caused by poor diet and poor dental hygiene. It can be caused by foods, drinks, antibiotics etc that we consume. Drinking a lot of coffee, smoking, chewing tobacco can also stain the tongue into brownish shade and harmless.

Advise : Gently brush your tongue with soft toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.

Healthy tongue
A healthy tongue should be fresh pink, moist, with little bumps, has a symmetrical shape. It has no cracks or spots, and should be topped with a thin coating of moisture.

To observe your tongue, you may observe it in natural daylight to get the true picture, and if you see something strange, ask your doctor. Observe it carefully and not in rush, it takes time to get the whole picture of your tongue, the color, shape, is there any spot or not.

Any kind of food, drinks, medications, and vitamins may change the color of your tongue, so before you decide the color of your tongue, ypu have to wait at least an hour after taking any of them.


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    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 3 years ago

      Febriedethan, What an informative hub on the tongue! How interesting how much one's health condition can be determined by observing the tongue! Thank you for sharing, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      nms, thank's

      heart4theword, thank's for visiting!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Very Interesting! I'll have to go look in the mirror? Informative hub:) Thanks

    • nms profile image

      nms 7 years ago from Cochin

      a very different hub. Well written on color of tongue

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      @quuenieproac, you're right! Thank you for visiting.

      @agus, you're welcome.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      It's so informative. Thank you febriedethan.

    • quuenieproac profile image

      quuenieproac 7 years ago from Malaysia

      Oh yes it is refreshing to clean the tongue daily with a plastic scraper or use the toothbrush with the toothpaste to lightly brush it.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      @ multifunctions, thank's

      @ Micky Dee, Sir, you sure you didn't take your nephew's candy? hahaha Thank you for visiting, God bless you too and bestowed you with great health, my friend!

      @ Hello, hello, great to see you, you're welcome :)

      @ BkCreative, thank you for sharing your great experience my friend, most traditional doctors in China are great in their diagnose and they don't take so much cost and thank's a lot for the rated up.

      @ onowic, thank's for visiting!

    • onowic profile image

      onowic 7 years ago

      Good info--coolio, as the kids say. Thanks for sharing!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      When I was in Beijing - one tour I had to go on was that of visiting a traditional Chinese doctor - and of course the noninvasive checkout included just checking my pulse and looking at my tongue - and he was able to accurately diagnose me. There were 10 on the tour and we saw 4 doctors. All received totally accurate readings - wow!

      Great hub. I'm so glad to see that we are opening our eyes (and mouth) to what the world has known for centuries.

      Rated up!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, febriedethan, as always an interesting and helpful hub.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Mine is chartreuse! What's that about? Great hub! God bless you febriedethan!

    • profile image

      Dr.Dinesh kapur 7 years ago

      Smile contents, another way to diagnosis of an ailments.

      Enjoy! '

    • multifunctions profile image

      Sanjay Sapre 7 years ago from India

      great information . one up for you.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes travel_man1971, I agree, so personal and thorough mouth hygiene is a must to preserve our health. Thank you for visiting my friend!

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Brian Slater and Jewels, thank you for reading :) have a great day guys!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      This is very true. But our tongue will also change color if we didn't clean it regularly due to the colors of the food we've eaten. Thanks, febriedethan.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

      I agree, very interesting.

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 7 years ago from England

      very interesting hub - well done