Stand before the mirror, and stick out your tongue.
Nothing extraordinary; just an organ of taste and speech, right?
But Ayurvedic healers can read astonishing clues to your health on your tongue. The classic ayurvedic treatise Charaka Samhita, written in 3rd century BC says, “The dirt which is collected at the root of the tongue creates obstructions in respiration and produces a foul smell, hence one should scrape the tongue.”
Although a healthy tongue is pink and free of bumps or spots, most people have a little coating on their tongues.
But if your entire tongue has a white coating, your Kapha dosha is severely aggravated. This coating indicates that undigested toxic wastes have accumulated inside your digestive system, and your ‘agni’ or digestive fire is burning low. Not only should you clean your tongue, but also take steps to eat light and flush out those toxins. Increase your water uptake. Regulate meal timings. Avoid greasy foods and desserts. Look up and follow a Kapha balancing diet.
If the tongue coating is greenish-yellowish in colour, your bile quotient is high—which means it’s the Pitta dosha that has flared up. Take steps to balance it by avoiding hot, spicy foods. Drink plenty of water. Pitta dosha cannot tolerate irregularity in meal timings, so make sure you follow a set rhythm for eating your meals.
A dark coating on the tongue shows a Vata imbalance. This can cause everything from constipation to lack of sleep. What your tongue is telling you is that your system is ‘dry’ and needs ample hydration. Again, the consumption of ample water and plenty of juicy fruits should help. Include a little ghee or oil in your diet. Moisturise your skin well. Do a daily self-massage with a good quality oil, even if for just five minutes. Basically, try to bring the Vata dosha back into balance by upping your body’s moisture quotient.
If you pay regular attention to the look and feel of your tongue, and take time to read up more about Ayurvedic tongue diagnosis, you could slowly learn how to check your health and take timely steps to improve it.
How to Scrape your tongue
Every morning, you should scrape your tongue. This is how to do it:
Buy a steel scraper for best results. Stick out your tongue, and starting from the back—as far back as is comfortable for you, gently smooth the scraper over your tongue. Scrapers can be sharp, and if you haven’t used one before, be careful when using one. Some people prefer to use the back of a spoon, which is also fine.
When the scraper slides over your tongue, the coating on the surface will start to come off. Rinse the scraper, and begin again, until the coating is all gone and your tongue is pink again. This should take upto 7 strokes of the scraper–more or less depending on the amount of coating.
You’ll feel your breath freshen because the bacteria will have fallen away. The act of scraping also stimulates the gastric juices and helps digestion become more efficient.