Check Your Tongue! - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

Check Your Tongue!

By on March 7, 2016

Every morning when you wake up, check your tongue. If you have a tongue scraper, scrape it a few times to get the night time slop off of it. After that, look again. If it is pink you are doing great!

Our entire digestive system is reflected on the tongue. It’s the quickest way to see what’s happening on our insides!

But you have to know what to look for – so I’ll carry on.

If you see a whitish coating, that is a sign of ama, which means there are toxins in the digestive system. We can get ama for a number of reasons, but mainly because we have weak agni. Agni is our digestive fire and there is plenty that we can do during our daily routine to keep agni strong.

There are different degrees of ama. Ama can show up on our tongue simply because we had a big meal the night before and we are not done digesting it yet! Our biggest screw up is when we eat breakfast because we think we should. Then we pile more food on the undigested food, creating a big pile of poorly digested goop. This, in turn, creates more ama. Bleh. SO! The best thing we can do when we see that our tongue is white is to fast. We have to let our body catch up to the food we put in it. The only way it can do that is if we don’t give it any more food.

I don’t mean a crazy fast for days. I mean, sipping ginger (or herbal, but ginger is best because it aids digestion) tea and not eating until our tongue turns mostly pink again. It could be a couple hours or even a full day. Let your body catch up. Try it, I think you will find it fun to watch! When you are really hungry, I bet your tongue will be nice and pink. Give it a whirl!

Besides a white coating, there are other things we can look for on our tongue.

  • Redness, indicates that there is too much heat in the body. This redness suggests that digestion might be TOO hot, therefore burning the food before it gets absorbed to become nutrients.
  • Cracks on the tongue, means a vata derrangement. This could be due to  dehydration or not enough oils in the diet.
  • Shaky tongue is a sign of anxiety and/or fear.
  • Little teeth marks on the side is a sign of ama in the colon and/or unabsorbed nutrients.

For more tongue diagrams and other fun stuff, there is a book by Dr. Lad called Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing. It’s a good crash course. Or you can send me pictures of your tongue and we can have a field day. Tally ho!

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About Monica Bloom

Monica Bloom is an Ayurvedic practitioner, writer, lecturer, and creator of the Ayurvedic blog, A Blooming Resource on Ayurveda, reaching readers worldwide. Her purist delivery of ancient wisdom fused with Midwest humor and practicality make her an impactful entertaining healer. Monica is a wife, mama of a spirited toddler, and owner of three animals. She currently works a 40-hour corporate grind in San Francisco, making her an expert at tucking Ayurveda neatly into our modern lives as she manages the daily crazies just like everyone else.



    This is bullshit

    September 18, 2015 at 12:26 am

    What kind of pseudo science is this? Buy a tongue scraper and scrape your tongue.

    You tongue color has nothing to do with what youre eating, and chances are, its a weird color becaus a) youre scraping it too much or b) not scraping it enough. Just keep up your oral hygiene.

    • Jacob Griscom

      March 7, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Not only is the state of your tongue very connected with the state of your digestion, you can verify it very quickly and learn a lot of other interesting information by checking it various times throughout the day: in the morning, before a meal, after a meal, after exercising, after drinking a spicy digestive tea, etc.

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