Coating on Tongue

Tongue coating gives clues to the overall state of the person. An even, light, rooted coating of mucus on the tongue is healthy. A rooted coating is one that doesn’t scrape off.

The following table describes indications associated with tongue coating:

Coating description Association
Thick coating Candida, phlegm, Kapha, mucus
Greasy Phlegm, dampness, stagnation; gas, indigestion. Gallbladder. Use alteratives.
Yellow coating Heat. Liver or gallbladder, look to location. Large intestine, do they have constipation, dry hard stools? Inflammation of stomach area (with red irritated surface, ulcer). (Licorice, Slippery Elm, Comfrey). Alteratives likely.
Light yellow/greasy and slippery, like an oil slick in streaks. Gallbladder. Too many fats in the diet, deficient liver/gallbladder function. (Celandine).
Yellow brown Heat in the interior, constipation, liver/spleen, pancreas. (Bupleurum, Oregon Grape root, Gentian, Dandelion). Putrid, septic.
Orange Spleen/pancreas. (Turmeric, Gentian, Dandelion).
Orange dot on right frontal section Gallbladder. Without lifting head, first thing in the morning, hold a mirror up and you can see the dot.
Gray coating on back third of the tongue Sluggish bowel, constipation, smoking and excess heat. (Stop smoking, drink fluids, eat soluble fiber, exercise) Use fresh ground flax seeds, Slippery Elm, fresh fruits.
Black (hairy with elongation of papillae) Radiation treatment, fungal infection.
Black coating on back third Toxicity, possible degenerative condition, fungal infection, or bacterial infection, heat causing tissue death. (Echinacea, Baptisia). Can be normal in extreme age.
Moist mucus Excess bile, indigestion, poor organ activity, dampness. (Wild Yam, mild Ginger tea).
Dry tongue, furred (like a damp cat with peaks of hair standing up) They have secretions but they dry out. Excess heat, irritation, fever. (Slippery Elm, nervines). Check area of tongue. Check skin — is it dry? If so, the whole system is dry. Increase fluids.
Frothy mucus on edges Look to lungs. Phlegm in lungs. Shallow breathing.
“Strawberry tongue” Classic indication for homeopathic Belladonna, especially in children’s fevers.
Smooth, like glass No assimilation. Exhausted stomach, malnutrition. (Lemon juice in water, Sweet leaf Monarda fistulosa).
Raised red papillae on tongue Systemic infection. (Echinacea, Calendula).
Purple-red Engorged or stagnant heart. Look for puffiness of tongue, scalloped edges. (Hawthorn, Rosehips).
White Cold fluid stagnation or excess secretion. Wild Geranium.
Central forward area red, raw, coated Ulcer
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