Chapter 43 • Examining the Fingernails

The nail should fit nicely on the finger. The hand needs to be relaxed and below the level of the heart when you examine fingernails. Do they use polish (acetone poisoning) or buff the tops of the nails?

The more lunula, the white moons, the better a persons’ health is. It is said that moons from thumb to pinky indicate enough protein. Just to round things out, in Chinese medicine too many lunula indicates too yin.

The following table summarizes conditions that can be indicated by the condition or color of the fingernails:

Condition/color Association

Lack of assimilation. Chronic nervous system involvement. Hypothyroidism. Rheumatoid arthritis.
Little skin flaps on sides of nails

Silica. Vitamin B deficiency.
Pale nail beds

Anemia. No blood to the surface.
“Have your period?” will be pale.
Pale centers

Blood stagnating in center, uterus.
Blue at base of nail by cuticle

Poor circulation and blood stagnation.
Soft nails

Mineral deficient.
Vitamin B deficiency. P.D.L.
Spongy, barely attached

TB, bronchitis, cancer, starts on index finger. Emphysema, look for blue color. Cystic fibrosis.
Dipped-in nail

Longstanding deficiency
Nail turns up

Asthma, misuse of adrenal sprays
Starts on index finger

Thyroid condition, kidney, circulation iron deficiency. Vata.
Black bits under the nail

Infectious endocarditis, serious heart infection, bleeding disorder (mitral valve prolapse, having teeth cleaned).
Spoon-shaped or dark nails

Vitamin B12 deficiency, cleaning with bleach reaction, anemia. Heart enlargement, look to other heart issues. Lead poisoning. DW
Flat nails

Deficiency. Raynaud’s disease.
Pitted red-brown spots, frayed and split ends

Psoriasis. Need vitamin C, folic acid, and protein.
Nail fungus

Overall alkalinity of sweat and body tissues.
Long thick white mark, furrow across nail

Serious surgery
Red line at edge of nail, and cuticle

Blood caught in the extremities.
Systemic connective tissue disorder, Lupus, nail biting.
Reddish brown line

Kidneys. P.D.L.
Red/brown lines on cuticles Heat or old infection. Misuse of antibiotics.

Anemia, cold hands and feet. Raynaud’s. (Safflower). M.W.
“No blood to the surface.” W. Le.
Horizontal ridges

Interference with life force. Systemic depletion.
Too much Chlorine in the water system. P.D.L.
Very red

Heat in the system
Weak nails, bites nails, hangnails

Silica deficiency (Avena, Equisetum).
Yellow nails and elevation of nail tips

Internal disorders may show here first. Lymphatic, respiratory, diabetes, liver.
Thick nails

Poor blood circulation. May be thyroid. Fungus.
Spots on nails

Big Spot? Ask “Did you hit that nail?” Tight Spot? Zinc (ask if they have a poor sense of smell or poor tissue healing). Calcium deficient (ask about bone loss, cavities, grinding teeth) How long to grow out?
Lunula over 1/3 nail

Weak constitution
Curls downward

Blood deficiency, lung deficiency, chronic cough.
Ridges, rounding and horizontal

Malnutrition. V. Lad
Transverse groove

Chronic fever, longstanding illness. V. Lad
White line, horizontal

Arsenic poisoning. D.W.
Half pink, half white

Kidney infection

Lung and Liver. Heart, cyanotic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, cirrhosis, colitis.


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