The Meaning of the Marks on Your Tongue

The tongue is a map of the state of your health. When you are healthy, your tongue is reddish, all the same color, and has a hydrated texture. On the other hand, when you suffer from an imbalance in an organ, this is manifested in a change of color or texture, or also with some marks in certain areas of the tongue.

Traditional Chinese Medicine provides us with the keys to interpreting these changes and the power to prevent and recover from some illnesses.

In general, if you look at the tongue from the front, the map shows you:

  • Middle region: stomach and spleen
  • Sides: liver and gallbladder
  • Interior part: kidneys
  • Tip of the tongue: heart

The Tongue’s Color

The color of your tongue gives you clues to the organs that may be weaker. Yellowish colors indicate the liver, gallbladder, and stomach. When the color is more green, it points to the liver.

On the other hand, gray is related to the liver and the intestine.

White can mean that there are parasites, anemia, kidney or hormone problems, bad circulation, or poor nutrition.


Let’s review some specific marks that will help you better locate the imbalances.

Yellowish White Layer

When the tongue has a white and/or yellowish layer that covers all of it, especially on the most inner part, the person is suffering from an imbalance in the gallbladder’s bile secretion, which tends to be the main cause of digestive problems. Food remnants that have not been digested or absorbed move on to states of fermentation and decomposition and convert to toxins.

Teeth Marks on the Sides of the Tongue

Some tongues have irregular marks on the sides as if they had been made by molars. Sometimes the person also feels the need to cough up off-white mucus. In this case, digestion is not working correctly and nutrients are not being absorbed correctly in the small intestine. It also has a lot to do with a lack of minerals.

Pimples on the Tongue

Pimples on the tongue are small inflamed spots that also represent poor digestion and the presence of food remnants in decomposition in the small and large intestine.

Cracks in the Tongue

Cracks in the tongue are very frequent. They look like deep or shallow cuts in different areas, although the most frequent ones are in the middle region. They mean that there are old problems in the colon walls, which is the part of the intestine that suffers from aggression from toxic acid, a by-product of poor digestion. This also has an effect on a lack of vitamins. There can be mucus on the tongue as well.

Mucus in the Throat and Mouth

Mucus that appears in the throat and may even get to the mouth, and can often cause and worsen inflammations like pharyngitis, sinusitis, etc., are the result of poor digestion that has created toxins that the body needs to get rid of. If you also have a bitter taste in your mouth, this happens because of the presence of bile. Moreover, when you don’t digest food well and it causes heartburn, this also creates mucus because it is the way the body protects the digestive tract walls so they are covered and don’t get irritated.

Mouth Ulcers

Ulcers are a symptom of bad digestion when there is inflammation or ulcerations in some part of the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, they appear the day after you have already passed the food.

Sometimes the marks appear outside of the mouth, on the corners, and if they are aggravated they can even form annoying scabs. These marks are the reflection of duodenal ulcers caused by digestive disorders.

To improve the symptoms that your tongue shows you, you should start by improving your diet and detoxing your body to cleanse it from all of those toxins that harm it. If necessary, you should also take a natural supplement to improve your digestive functioning. Lastly, oil rinses can also help you. When done daily, they cleanse your entire digestive system and keep your tongue and your mouth in general healthy.

Images courtesy of Mike Burns