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What your tongue reflects about your health

A picture is worth a thousand words. What does your tongue reflect about your health?

Observing the tongue is one of the main 4 diagnostic methods to obtain information.
What does a physician look out for in a tongue?

9 Basic Tongue Indications:

Pink tongue with thin coating


Red tongue with little/ no coating/ cracks

One is usually thin in size, averse to hot and dry weather, often complains about feeling warm at the palms of the hand and soles of the feet especially in the night, has a dry mouth and nose, frequent thirst, night sweats, and dry stools / constipation.


Pale swollen tongue or with white coating

Averse to cold and prefers extra clothing to keep oneself warm, often complains about feeling cold at the hands, feet and abdomen, often feels unwell after eating cold food, and prone to fertility issues.


Pale/pink tongue and teeth marks at the sides

Easily fatigued, susceptible to the common cold or flu bug, prone to panting, perspires easily with little physical activity, tend to overthink and worry, and watery / loose stools.


Pale tongue with little / no coating

Easily fatigued, prone to dizziness, palpitations, forgetfulness, poor concentration, and tend to be anaemic.

Tongue with red tip with thin white coating
Prone to mood swings, anxiety / depression, excessive sighing, tight chest, bloated stomach, and excessive dreaming.

Red with yellow greasy coating

Prone to have acne on the face, chest, or back. Often complains of a bitter taste in the mouth, averse to warm and humid weather, excessive secretions / dampness at the reproductive organs, and sticky stools / sense of incomplete defecation.

Pink/ swollen tongue with thick white coating

Prone to excessive sebum secretions on the face and scalp, excessive phlegm production, chest tightness, sense of heaviness especially in the limbs, often have cravings for food high in fat and sugars, and averse to humid and wet weather.

Purple red tongue with black spots

Often have dull complexion and pigmentation on the skin, dark-coloured lips, unknown bruising, prone to bleeding disorders, and abnormal growths in the body.


Tongue Region

In addition, the tongue is divided into sections associated with different organs of the body. 

Noting where the characteristics appear on the tongue can help the physician to attain a more accurate diagnosis and treatment method for the patient.

How to use AskPULSE effectively

Do you have burning questions about TCM but don’t know who to ask? AskPULSE at the comfort of your home - virtually!

Simply register for an account and consult our team of TCM Physicians for free!



Here's how it works:

Register for an account, and verify it from the email you’ve received.


  • Log into your account
  • Select your category of concern (e.g. skin issues, weight management)
  • Tell us your name, gender and date of birth
  • Upload a photo of your tongue (optional)

  • Select area(s) of concern (optional)
  • Ask your question!

Tip: Indicate your main concern/problem, duration, type of pain (e.g. dull, sore, prickly, contracting, bloating, etc.) and other accompanying symptoms.


While waiting... Take the quiz to find out your body constitution and useful tips on how to improve your health!


Our physicians will reply by the next working day and you’ll be notified via email when the physician has replied.


The information and physician advice on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content and advice available through this site is for general information only. Do seek medical assistance when necessary.

Taking a picture of your tongue for diagnosis

Uploading clear and sharp pictures are important for an accurate diagnosis by our physicians. If the pictures do not meet our standards, our physician may request for you to upload again.

Here are some tips for uploading a clear picture that is usable for diagnosis:

1. Your tongue should fill ¾ of the screen.

2. Take the picture in a well-lit room

3. Some do nots before taking a picture of your tongue to ensure an accurate reflection:

  • Do not drink coloured drinks like tea or coffee, or eat sweets as it will stain your tongue
  • Do not brush your tongue as it will disturb the coating
  • Do not stick out your tongue for more than 15 seconds

Your pictures will be kept private and used by our physicians for diagnostic purposes only.