Chinese Medicine Tongue Flashcards

Terms Definitions
According to TCM, “the tongue is
of the heart and the external indicator of the spleen”.
the tongue represents body’s
Zang and Fu
All the energy channels are connected with tongue
directly or indirectly
The pathological changes of Zang & Fu, channels, Qi & blood and fluid can be reflected by
the tongue picture
heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney
gall bladder (GB), stomach, large intestine, small intestine, bladder and Sanjiao
Heart Channel:
a branch goes to the root of tongue.
Spleen Channel:
connects with the root of the tongue and spreads over its lower surface area.
Lung Channel:
connects with the throat and the root of the tongue.
Kidney Channel:
terminates at the root of the tongue.
Liver Channel:
goes through the throat and connects with the root of the tongue.
The normal tongue is
a light red, moist, bright, soft and flexible tongue with thin-white coating on the upper surface of it. The normal tongue reflects the proper functions of spleen and stomach. Also, Yin-Yang and Qi-blood are in the balanced condition.
Pale Tongue
(bloodless) - deficiency or cold syndrome
• small-thin-pale tongue--- deficiency of blood and Qi• fat-tender-pale ---deficiency of Yang-Qi
Reddened Tongue
(redder than normal tongue) - heat pattern
Heat causes rapid and violent blood and Qi circulation.
• rough-red tongue with prickles or thick-yellowish coating--- excess heatred tongue tip--- flaring up of heart-firered sides of the tongue---ex
Crimson Tongue
(redder than reddened tongue)
{ invasion of Ying-blood system by pathogenic warm heat{ Yin deficiency{ Blood Stagnation
• dry or fissured-crimson tongue --- ying stage pattern or yin deficiency• little-moist-crimson tongue ---interior blo
Purple Tongue
stagnation of Qi and blood caused by coldness or heat
• withered-dry-purple tongue - excessive heat, consumption of the body fluid and stagnation of Qi and blood• light purple or purplish-blue and moist - blood stagnation due to coldness
Swollen (Enlarged or Plump) tongue
{ retention of water and stagnation of dampness, phlegm and fluid { excessive heat
• pale-tender-plump tongue accumulation of body fluid due to Yang deficiency of the spleen and kidney• light reddened-thick tongue with yellow greasy coatin
Thin and Small Tongue
deficiency of Qi and blood; deficiency of Yin-fluid
• pale-thin tongue - deficiency of Qi and blood• deep red-thin tongue - impairment of Yin by excessive heat, or hyperactivity of fire due to Yin deficiency
Prickled Tongue
excessive heat accumulation
• on the tip of the tongue - excessive heart fire• on the center of the tongue - excessive heat in the stomach and intestines• on the borders of the tongue - excessive fire of the liver and gall bladder
Fissured Tongue
deficiency blood and Yin
• light color-fissured tongue - blood deficiency• deep red-fissured tongue - impairment of the body fluid by excessive heat and as exhaustion of Yin-fluid.
Teeth-Printed Tongue
- deficiency of the spleen or damp retention
• pale and moist - damp cold• light red-colored moist - deficiency of the spleen and Qi• reddened-swollen - stagnation of phlegm by damp-heat
Shortened Tongue
The shortened tongue is usually contracted and unable to protrude out. A congenitally shortened frenulum linguae has no diagnostic sense. However, the pathological shortened tongue indicates a patient’s disease is severe and he/she is in critical c
Flaccid Tongue
The flaccid tongue refers to a weak tongue unable to protrude and curl up with atrophy of the tongue muscles. The flaccid tongue indicates extreme deficiency of Qi and blood. exhaustion of Yin-fluid and the consequent malnutrition of the tongue .
Stiff Tongue
The stiff tongue means the tongue is not able or difficult to move freely. The stiff tongue shows the pathological changes of Zang and Fu organs (the viscera). There are two main pathogenic factors:
• red or deep red - exterior heat or high fever
Tremulous Tongue
The tremulous tongue is the tongue body trembling uncontrollably. The tongue trembles because of deficiency of Qi and blood, consumption of the body fluid, Yang depletion or up-stirring of the liver-wind caused by extreme dry-heat.• pale- or light r
Wry Tongue
The wry tongue is considered as the tongue deviating to one side of the mouth while protruding. The wry tongue indicates apoplexy or its premonitory.• purple red, stiff - liver wind due to excessive heat• light red, soft - apoplexey
White Coating
- exterior pattern, cold pattern
• thin-white: external wind cold• thin-white-wet: cold or cold-damp syndrome• thick-white-slippery or -greasy: a retention of phlegm, cold-dampness and indigestion• thick-white like piled powder: pathogeni
Yellow Coating
- internal patern, heat pattern• thin-yellow-dry: mild pathogenic heat and consumption of the body fluid• blackish-yellow-dry: exuberance of pathogenic heat and exhaustion of the body fluid• yellow-greasy-wet: stagnation of heat and dampnes
Yellow Coating
• yellow-greasy-wet: stagnation of heat and dampness in the interior
Gray Coating (Light Black Coating)
- syndrome of interior heat or cold-dampness• gray dry - consumption of the body fluid by excessive heat and Yin deficiency, seen in febrile disease or interior injury• gray wet - retention of phlegm or stagnation of cold-dampness in the int
Black Coating
Black coating is transformed from gray or yellow coating. It is often seen in the critical stage of serious and/or prolonged diseases, indicating either excessive interior heat or excessive coldness.
Thin or Thick
location of pathogens; sevierity of diseases
• Thin - exterior syndrome in exopathy, or light internal injury syndrome• Thick - interior syndrome; serious severe condition; indigestion; damp or phlegm retention
Moist or Dry
- condition of body fluid
• Moist - body fluid contained• Slippery - excessive body fluid indicating cold damp syndrome• Dry and Rough: over consumption of body fluid by excessive body heat
Curdy or Greasy
- Wane or Wax yang qi and damp pathogen
• Curdy: *indigestion in stomach and intestine, *phlegm stagnation *internal damp-heat• Greasy: *damp pathogen, phlegm retention, *indigestion *damp-heat pathogens
• Scattered, peeled coating } consumption of stomach qi and yin Geographic coating }• mirror tongue --- exhaustion of stomach qi or yin
True or False
• True coating --- having stomach qi• False coating --- exhaustion of stomach qi
Crimson Tongue (redder than reddened tongue)
• little-moist-crimson tongue ---interior blood stagnation
Swollen (Enlarged or Plump) tongue
• light reddened-thick tongue with yellow greasy coating - interior rise of phlegm and damp-heat• deep red-swollen tongue - excessive heat of the heart and spleen• purplish blue-swollen tongue - stasis of alcoholism and blood stagnation due
1) Shortened Tongue
• pale-moist-shortened:stagnation of coldness in the body muscles and spasmodic contraction of the tongue muscles• reddened-dry-shortened:consumption of the body fluid by febrile disease and consequent spasm of the muscles• plump-greasy-sho
Tremulous Tongue
• pale- or light red-trembling - consumption of the body fluid , depletion of Yang, and deficiency of Qi-blood• reddened-little saliva-trembling - consumption of the body fluid and stirring-up of wind• deep red-trembling severely
Reddened Tongue (redder than normal tongue) - heat pattern
red sides of the tongue---excessive fire of the liver and gallbladderred middle part of the tongue---excessive heat of the middle-Jiao• tender-red tongue with little or no coating or with fissures--- deficient heat
Gray Coating (Light Black Coating) - syndrome of interior heat or cold-dampness
• gray wet - retention of phlegm or stagnation of cold-dampness in the interior
From a clinical point of view, gray coating is often found in serious and prolonged diseases
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