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What Your Tongue Can Say About Your Health

The tongue is a vital organ in the body that plays key roles in facilitating digestion, forming speech, and providing the ability to taste. In this article, we examine what your tongue can say about your health from both Western and traditional Chinese medical perspectives.

tonguefirstpageThe tongue is a vital organ in the body that plays key roles in facilitating digestion, forming speech, and providing the ability to taste. It contorts to assist swallowing, repositions to form phonetic sounds, and receives and relays salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami sensations from the foods we eat. While most people are cognizant of the kinetic and sensory functions of the tongue, many are unaware of the role that the tongue’s appearance can play in the evaluation of one’s health.

Remember your last doctor’s visit? Chances are, your practitioner asked you to “stick out your tongue.” In Western medicine, this is a common practice that allows a quick evaluation of the tongue and throat. Physicians and dentists usually look at the tongue for signs of nutritional deficiencies or more serious signs of cancer. The tongue is an important determinant of health in medical practices from around the world too. In traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners place emphasis on the tongue for diagnostic evaluations, believing that the tongue actually reflects all the diseases of the body.

Read more about what your tongue can say about your health in this Self-Care article from UCLA Total Wellness Magazine. Click here for the full issue. Interested in viewing previous Total Wellness Magazine publications? Click here to access the online publication.

 

By Vesta Partovi, B.S. Candidate ‘15 UCLA

 


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