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The Tongue in Disease and Remedial Diagnosis

When you are confused between the words given by the patient, look at the tongue!

The tongue (Lingua, Glossa) is a muscular organ in the oral cavity that is associated with the function of deglutition, taste and speech. It acts as an easily accessible mirror of the health of a person and indicates the state of hydration of the body. Some characteristic changes occur on the tongue in some abnormal conditions or diseases. Hence, the examination of the tongue is essential and will provide some hints for the clinical and remedial diagnosis.

It is very easy to examine the tongue in a conscious patient. The difficulty may arise in unconscious patients and in non-cooperative patients, especially the children. Small children may cry if we forcefully open their mouth, hence it can be easily examined by gently pressing above the mental-protuberance with the index finger and gradually opening the mouth. The baby will protrude the tongue automatically. Of course, it is a knack that can be gained only by experience.

The clinical examination of the tongue should be done with consideration of the following aspects such as shape, size, colour, moisture, coating, nature of papillae and the movements.

The appearance of tongue in some abnormal conditions:

1. Movements:

2. Moistness:

The moistness of the tongue gives some indication of the state of hydration of the body. Water volume depletion in a person can lead to peripheral circulatory failure characterized by weakness, increased thirst, restlessness, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, dry and parched tongue.

Dryness of tongue is seen in:

3. Colour:

4. Coating:

5. Papillae:

6. Ulcers:

In Homeopathy, we do not treat the diseases, but the diseased individuals are treated by a holistic approach. The diseases are the dynamic morbid phenomena which are not different entities, but a continuous process in the life of an individual, wherein the miasms get blended and evolved and finally affect the vital organs. The internal morbid process is expressed by means of abnormal sensations and functions followed by the appearance of structural changes. Here the peculiar signs and symptoms will characterise the individual. That is why the individualization is the sole mean for a prescription. Hence, the peculiar nature of the individual should be perceived by taking the totality by exact observation and correct interpretation. Merely looking at one pathological condition and prescription does not come under the domain of Homeopathy. However, some abnormal signs on the body can be helpful for the differential remedial diagnosis. Here the nature of tongue can be taken into consideration along with other characteristic signs. However, it should be kept in mind that over-importance to one particular sign or symptom may not be always correct. Hence, one need not expect a mapped tongue in all Natrum mur patients, and all patients with mapped tongue may not be Natrum mur!

[Synthesis Repertory>> Mouth >> Mapped tongue: Antimonium crudum, Arsenicum album, Chammomila, Dulcamara, Hydrangea, Kali bichromium, Kali muratica, Lachesis, Lilium tigrinum, Lycopodium, Merc, Merc cor, Natrum mur, Nitric acid, Oxalic acid, Phytolacca, Ran.s, Rhus tox, Sepia, Sulfuric acid, Syphilinum, TARAX, ter, thuja, tubercullinum.]

The peculiar appearance of the tongue in some important remedies

  1. Aconitum napellus:
  1. Antimonium crudum:
  1. Apis mellifica:
  1. Arsenicum album:
  1. Baptisia:
  1. Belladonna:
  1. Bryonia alba:
  1. Chelidonium :
  1. Crotalus horridus:
  1. Hydrastis:
  1. Hyoscyamus:
  1. Lachesis:
  1. Mercurius:
  1. Muriatic acid:
  1. Natrum mur:
  1. Nitric acid:
  1. Nux moschata:
  1. Nux vomica:
  1. Pyrogenium:
  1. Taraxacum:
  1. Rhus tox:


The intention behind this article is not to make you prescribe just by looking at the tongue, but to show you the importance of appearance of the tongue in differentiating diseases and the indicated remedies. When you get confused between the words given by the patient, just look at the place from where those words come – the tongue.

© Dr Muhammed Rafeeque

Kerala, India.

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