Studying the intricate characteristics of the tongue is a practice originating in traditional Chinese medicine. It provides the practitioner with vital information about how well certain systems of the body are functioning and may even confirm a diagnosis.

Have you ever wondered why some people have a white, yellow, green or sometimes even a ghastly black coating over their tongue?

A small amount of coating is fairly normal, especially in the morning or if you are dehydrated; however if you experience a large amount of coating over a prolonged period this may signal an underlying problem.

Excessive or unpleasant coatings on the tongue could be the result a number of factors including-

  • A dysfunctional or toxic liver
  • The wrong type of bugs (micro-organisms) in your digestive tract and mouth – this is called dysbiosis and reflects a state where the amount of unhealthy bacteria and yeasts is much higher than the amount of good bugs
  • Poor digestion
  • Food allergies such as gluten intolerance
  • Fungal infections in the digestive tract and mouth – the most common being candida
  • Excessive use of alcohol and/or cigarettes
  • A recent course or excessive use of antibiotic drugs

If the coating on the tongue is irregular and patchy this can resemble a map – this is known as a “geographic tongue” and is commonly associated with liver dysfunction.

If the tongue coating accompanies nausea, bloating, flatulence, excessive burping and/or indigestion, it is more than likely that dysbiosis is the problem. It is also possible for the coating on the tongue to be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeasts (such as candida or thrush) in the digestive system.

If symptoms persist, see a gastro-enterologist for tests.

Strategies to reduce the tongue coating include –

  • Using a tongue cleaner or scraper available in health food stores or pharmacies
  • Drink more water
  • Raw juicing using carrot, beetroot, ginger, fresh green leafy herbs and citrus fruits will improve your liver and reduce gut inflammation
  • Improve your diet and really try to cut out sugary foods, as these feed bad bacteria in the gut and mouth. Fresh fruit is allowed as its sugars are combined with natural antibiotic and cleansing substances.
  • A liver tonic containing Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Taurine, Selenium and B vitamins
  • Gargling with sea salt and/or colloidal silver
  • Take a probiotic and/or use fermented foods – a company in Byron Bay, NSW makes fantastic fermented foods under te brand name of Peace Love and Veggies. This will help to kill the bad bacteria with no side effects

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.