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What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health

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OK, armchair physicians: You’ve already weighed in on whether or not you want to self-diagnose your own UTI. But can you identify a kidney problem or cardiovascular disease simply by looking at your… tongue? Here, everything you need to know about the Chinese art of tongue-reading.

Why am I supposed to look at my tongue? According to ancient medicine, the tongue is connected to major energy meridians and internal organs. So you can “read” it much the way a psychic might read your palm.

How do I do it? When you wake up, before you brush your teeth or have that cup of joe, take a look at your tongue. Note the color (is it a healthy pink?) and the texture (are there any rough patches or indentations?). Then, if you do notice abnormalities, consult this diagram to see what part of the body it might correspond to.

What are some common tongue diagnoses? See a U-shaped coating at the back? That supposedly correlates to toxins in your colon. Discolored areas to the side and back? That may be a kidney problem. A reddish spot toward the front? That’s an overworked heart.

Yikes, this is all sort of scary-seeming. There’s more: If your tongue has cracks in it, is shaking or has a deep ridge in the center, you might have deep-seated emotional disturbance.

So what’s my takeaway? Use your tongue’s appearance as a first step in self-diagnosis, checking it every morning to see what conditions persist. Then follow up with a real doctor. Just remember to brush your teeth first.

This article originally appeared on PureWow.

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