Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use tongue diagnosis to assess the patient in regards to digestive capabilities, Qi (energy), blood quality, nutrient assimilation and excretion. Tongue diagnosis is a tool used to assess a patients weaknesses and strengths. A practitioner will perform tongue diagnosis by looking at the color, shape and coating. A healthy tongue is a reddish/ grey color and should appear moist and clean after eating food. The tongue is an indicator of the state of the digestive system and the organs associated with digestion from the rectum to esophagus including the stomach, small intestines, colon (large intestines), pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder. It reflects the health and activity of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
A tongue which appears swollen, puffy or engorged can be related to a spleen qi deficiency and more commonly liver congestion (Liver Yang excess) and a decrease in its ability to actively detoxify wastes from the body. This results in an accumulation of wastes in the circulation and the tongue may swell due to congested blood. This causes the swelling of the tongue and is linked with excess heat/ fire production in the liver if it is burdened due to dirty blood.
SYMPTOMS OF SPLEEN QI DEFICIENCY – a pattern of illness in Chinese medicine linked to such symptoms as bloating, gas, and indigestion.
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH A DECREASE IN LIVER FUNCTION are skin inflammation, biliousness, indigestion, acid reflux and constipation.
Each individual organ needs balance between the energies of Ying and Yang, this is a sensitive balance and often foods, diet, lifestyle and supplements can influence each organs behaviour. In Chinese Medicine the liver governs muscle contraction and integrity of connective tissue (tendons, ligaments and cartilage). An excessive storage of Yang in the liver results in liver heat and overstimulation (too much energy). This is also a Yin organ however if there is excessive Qi/ heat stored in the liver the production of heat causes many symptoms of irritability. The gall bladder and digestive system are influenced by the heatlh and balance of the liver and you may also be presenting with digestive sensitivity also. You need to clear the heat and promote Liver Yin to cool the organ down and relieve complaints of excess.
Fortunately the cells of the liver are able to regenerate (up to 2/3) if the health of an individual is improved. The primary function of the liver is to liberate toxic wastes from the circulation and
eliminate them from the body. Improving the health of the liver will ensure that this organ can properly perform this task as well as others such as blood cleansing, production of bile (digestion of fats), cholesterol (synthesis of hormones) and proteins, processing of nutrients via digestion and producing new energy via glycogenesis.
SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS LIVER YANG
Symptoms of excessive Liver Yang include:
– red tongue
– digestive sensitivity
– skin irritations
– excessive perspiration
– digestive reflux and indigestion
– malabsorption problems
– inflammatory bowel conditions
– strong emotions (irritability and anger)