Homeopathy Papers

What The Tongue Tells Us

Written by Trevor Cook

Tongue is a flexible muscular organ of the mouth. It is meant for tasting, moisturising, licking, kissing, mastication of food, swallowing and, in humans, speech. The healthy tongue is free of any discomfort, such as pain, stinging, burning, swelling, excrescences or numbness. The remedies suggested in the box are only possible treatments.

The make-up of the tongue

The tongue is a vital, highly active, sensitive organ, which is the beginning and the only visible part of the digestive tract. It is sometimes called the mirror of the stomach. It can prove to be a key-factor in determining many conditions and the overall health of the body.

The tongue is a flexible muscular organ of the mouth. It is meant for tasting, moisturising, licking, kissing, mastication of food, swallowing and, in humans, speech. Its muscles are attached to the lower jaw and to a bone above the larynx. Its rough texture is produced by tiny nodules or papillae which project from its upper surface. Sensory nerves or taste buds are situated at the sides and the base of the tongue and the motor nerve is distributed across the muscular substance.

Ask the client to protrude the tongue and check for any deviation, discomfort or tremors. Examine the dorsum of the tongue, noting the colour and any coating or furring. Is the tongue enlarged or flabby? Note the condition of the papillae. Are there any cracks, fissures or patches on the tongue? Ask the client to elevate the tip with the wide open mouth and examine the undersurface of the anterior tongue. While conducting this examination it is pertinent to study the lips, teeth, gums, palate, fauces (the passage from the mouth pharynx), tonsils and pharynx.

The healthy tongue is free of any discomfort, such as pain, stinging, burning, swelling, excrescences or numbness. It is moist, with a rough surface, and has an evenly coloured pink surface overlaying pale red. Inspection of the client’s tongue is, therefore, a very useful starting point in most consultations. –

Tongue conditions

The remedies suggested in the box are only possible treatments and can only be verified by considering the totality of symptoms and their full repertorisation.

Cuts The tongue is considered to be the fastest healing organ in the body. Wounds should respond within 48 hours with correct treatment, otherwise consult a physician.May be treated with a mouthwash of Calendula mother tincture or a mixture of equal volumes of Calendula and Hypericum mother tinctures (Hypercal), 10 drops in a half a cupful of water. If there is suppuration, give Hepar sulph. 6c also.
Bites/ Bitten Tongue Ledum 6c for puncture wounds with imprints of teeth, or as for cuts. Hydrastis. Mercurius cor, Mercurius sol. or Rhus tox. may also be considered. All at 6c or 30c.
Red Tip of Tongue Usually a dietary problem with excessively acid foods. Reduce acidity by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and give Natrium carb 6x, Belladonna 6c, Natrium phos. 6x, Argentum nit. 6c, Rhus tox. 6c or Sulphur 30c.
White Salivation and bad, slimy taste. White ‘thrush’ tongue. Give Kali carbo 6x or Kali mul: 6x. Bryonia 6c or Taraxacum 6x might also be useful. For white patches, Taraxacum 2x.
Dry. thick white Coating is a sign of toxification. Give drainage remedies. Berberis vulgaris 6x for kidney dysfunction, Chelidonium 6c for liver dysfunction, or Kali sulph. 6x or Taraxacum 2x. Water intake should be increased.Also consider Baptisia 6c or Arsen. alb. 6c. For con- stipation, give Senna 6x.
Greyish-white mapped tongue Swelling. Tongue feels dryish or slimy. Give Kali mur 6x or Natrium mur 6x.
Smooth, pale tongue May suggest a nutrional deficinecy; the healthy tongue is rough. A healthy, balanced diet is necessary. Give the biochemic remedy Kali phos. 6x.
Purple Lachesis 30c. Consider also Petroleum 30c.
Red edges Give Mercurius sol. 6c Consider also Arsen. alb. 6c, Chelidonium 6c or Lycopodium 30c
Reddish with pale edges (And possibly tiny white spots). Indicates a liver problem. Give Natrium sulph. 6x, Chelidonium 6x, Berberis vulgaris 6x or Solidago 6x.
Black or blackish Consider Mercurius sol. 6c, Carbo veg. 6c, or Arsen. alb. 6c. If black at the centre consider Phosphorus 30c.The tongue can also be brushed gently night and morning using a Calendula mouthwash.
Blue Antimonium tart. 6x or Arsen. alb. 6x. Possible heart condition. Lips may be blue. Give Digitalis 6c or 30c. Consider Convalleria 6c or Crataegus in mother tincture.
Brown Give Arsen. alb. 6c or Baptisia 6c. If worse in the morning, give Rhus tox. 6c.
Red Give Belladonna 6c. If swollen, Rhus tox. 6c. If fiery red, give Apis med. 6c. Rhus tox. has fiery red triangular tip. A strawberry tongue indicates Belladonna.
Grey or greyish-yellow Ambrosia 6c
Grey-green Give Natrium sulph. 6x or Nat. phos. 6x. A thick grey-green coating may suggest severe constipation. Give drainage remedies, including Senna 6x and increase water intake to 2 litres a day minimum.
Yellow Thick, dirty coating Give Chelidonium 30c if a liver problem is suspected. Consider Rhus tox., Kali bich. or Spigelia, all in a 6c potency.
Multicoloured Lachesis 6c
Mapped tongue Natrium mur: 6x but see Coloration
Twitching tongue Give Glonine 6c or 30c.
Trembling tongue Give Lachesis 6c or Mercurius sol. 6c. If the tongue is protruded and trembling, give the Lachesis. If accompanied by stammering choose Stramonium 30c or Argentum nit. 6c.
Tongue tremor This condition could indicate hyperthyrodism, and a blood test would be required. Other symptoms include weight loss, bulging eyes, insomnia, restlessness and depression. Meanwhile Kali phos. 6x can be given.
Wrinkled tongue Consider Calcarea phos. 6x or Phosphorus 6c.
Swollen tongue An enlarged tongue may indicate thyroid enlargement, an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Other symptoms include weight gain and lethargy. Give Fucus. vesiculosus 6c. This remedy, prepared from sea kelp, is high in iodine content, the major constituent of thyroxine. Alternatively you can give Iodium 6c. Other remedies to be considered are Anacardium and Pulsatilla, both at 6c. A swollen, flabby tongue where the teeth leave marks would indicate Mercurius sol. 6c. See also Cuts or Bites.
Smooth tongue Accompanied by redness and soreness. This indicates anemia, in particular iron deficiency anemia. There may be an earthy taste. Give Ferrum phos. 6x. In the morning or on waking, Opium 30c, Pulsatilla or Rhus tox. At night, Nux moschata 30c (also for the ‘sensation as if’ dry).
Dry Tongue A dry tongue may be caused by stress or nervousness, for example, before addressing an audience or before an examination. The client feels tongue-tied, unable to speak. Take Argentum nit. 6c the night before and 1 hour before the event or consider Gelsemium 6c or 30c. Drink plenty of water.
Itching Tongue Give Apis mel. 6c. Dulcamara 6c or Sulphur 30c.
Tongue in constant motion Loquacious, but in motion even when not talking. Tongue may be protruded. Give Phytolacca 6c or Hyoscyamus 6c and follow with Lachesis 6c or Phosphorus 6c.
Mucus/saliva If this is sticky, give Argentum nit. 6c., Sepia 30c or Nux moschata 30c. If it is bitter, give Chelidonium 6c.
Pain in tongue:
On swallowing Give Calcarea phos. 6c or Phytolacca 6c.
On talking Give Kalmia 6c or Lycopodium 6c.
On puffing out Give Phytolacca 6c or 30c.
Burning pain (smarting) Give Arsen. alb., Iris vers., Sanguinaria or Veratrum vir. (all 6c). Aconite could be given initially (one dose).
Soreness Give Nitric acid 6c or Thuja 6c.
Paralysis Difficult articulation of speech. Give Causticum 6c or 30c, Gelsemium 30c, Lycopodium 30c or Opium 200c (left side). See also Trembling tongue.
Sensitive tongue:
At tip of tongue Give Croton tig. 6c. If the tip is sensitive and red choose Arsen. alb. 6c, Phytolacca 6c or Sulphur30c
Whole tongue Taraxacum 2x
Blisters Gums may bleed. Give Zincum met. met. 6c.
Numbness Natrium mur 6x is indicated, particularly if associated with a tingling sensation. Also consider Gelsemium 6c or Aconite (initially).
Hot tongue Give Belladonna 6c or Apis mel. 6c.
Inflamed tongue Give Apis mel., Lachesis or Croton-c. all 30c.
Frothy With bubbles on side of tongue. Natrium mur 6x. See also Coloration.
Greyish film May be caused by excessive use of antibiotics. Give Ambrosia 6c or Kali carb 6c or Chelidonium 6c.
White ulcers Give Kali iod. 6c. Tongue may have greyish-white coating.
Small ulcers Give Mercurius sol. 6c. May be the result of stress. A vitamin C supplement may be helpful. Possibly follow up with Psorinum 1M.
Bleeding ulcers Give Mercurius sol. 6c or 30c. Ulcers at edges of tongue may be treated with Nitric ac. 6c or, if under the tongue, with Lycopodium 30c.

Recommended potencies are a general guide only and may be higher for persistent or chronic conditions

Dr. Trevor Cook Director and principal. British Institute of Homeopathy email: [email protected] web: www.britinsthom.com

About the author

Trevor Cook

Dr. Trevor Cook
Director and principal. British Institute of Homeopathy
email: [email protected]
web: www.britinsthom.com


  • I have not long been diagnosed with hypothyroidism,but assumed for a long time the swollen tongue was allergy related. Seeing as my allergy tests are coming back normal, I can see it is the thyroid.

    why is it like this and what can i do to stop it.

    i am currently on 100mcg levothyroxine daily and this is still under review. The swollen tongue has been causing me panic attacks and difficulties sleeping.

  • I have had a ‘dry mouth’ or tongue for several months. It is extreme and feels dry even when I’m salivating or drinking or eating. I have FM and am taking pain pills (tramadol). Please give me a hint about how to go about healing. I am on a small island and don’t have the resources of good Chinese or homeopathic treatment.

    Thank you,


  • very nice article.nowadays so many doctors missing these type of examinations.thankyou very much for reminding.symptoms and signs are the only natural diagnostic points more than scan,xray.Congrats for your nice efforts

  • the homeopathy treatment is as good-looking as your beautiful face which has looks of soothig the agonies of tontoues.GOD BLESS YOU AND UR RESERCH!

  • My tongue has lots of relief with it. I take rhus tox and nat mur every 8 days. I really bless the author. God Bless.

    • I have the swollen tongue with ridges along the sides from the pressure against the teeth.


      I was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis in 2002 after suffering for 3-4 years. The blood tests always came back normal. A new doctor caught me in the middle of an episode with the flaming hot neck, exhausted fatigue, brassy hair, dry skin and feeling like you could collapse right there and then. She put me on 50 mcg Cytomel and life was back to normal til 2006. My obstetrician took me off. When I explained I had thyroiditis, I was ignored. SOOOOOOOOOOOO…..what happens? 6 months after my son is born the anxiety and high blood pressure start along with 3-4 hrs of sleep and tons of hyperactivity. Then like hitting a wall, you come to a stop. Can’t get enough sleep, hair goes brassy, sick every 6 weeks, tongue swells…..then you have brief periods of hyper that get shorter each time with longer periods of hypo.

      I am so desperate after 4.5 years that I emailed the doctor that diagnosed me in 2002 for some glimmer of hope. She’s moved 4 hours away.

      • I’m interested in your response to Cytomel. Any insights? How are you doing at present? I’m interested in your thyroiditis, too.

  • Sir,
    My tongue is turning white during the night. also around 4pm. It is also dry with a slight burning sensation. Do you know the remedy?

    • Dear Pravin,

      Remedies are selected on more than tongue color. If you are concerned, please visit an experienced homeopath.

  • Dear Sir,

    Your article was very informative and educative. Sir I have a THICK TONGUE which obstructs normal speech ability. It is causing a lot of stress mentally to me. I would like to take homeopathy treatment for the same. Please suggest me a good homeopathy doctor in Bombay (India).

    Thanking You

  • This article is amazing…I have recently developed a burning /sore tongue at the tip spreading to the sides along with small white ulcers – This has been going on for several weeks now – it is painful to eat and very uncomfortable. Do you think it is advisable to take a combination of Merc.sol and sulphur?

    • Dear J.

      Combinations of of remedies only confuse the situation. If you believe a particular remedy matches the symptoms, try that first. If you are really not clear what to take, consult an experienced homeopath.

  • The sides of my tongue are wrinkled and big since child. I have no problems but i want to know is it symptom for something?

  • I my tongue feels really odd and dry near the back.. is there any information on something like this?

    Also I have a brown dots near the front of my tongue and on the sides, what does this indicate?

    • That’s not enough information prescribe or diagnose on. Tongue symptoms are useful as an adjunct to a full case taking, but by themselves can lead you astray.

  • sir i have several fissures in my tongue. sometimes there are some sores in my tongue. is there any treatment for my fissures tongue. pls reply me quickly.pls sir………

  • Thank you for your article !
    Please could you let me know the edges of my tongue are red and sensitive…what could that be ?
    thank you so much !

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