Dropdown Menu

Nov 21, 2011


Tongue observation is an important part of Homeopathic Case Taking.When symptoms are not individualizing a case, signs can be important for final selection. Among signs, tongue is an important place to search for guiding indications.

Following article published in THE CRITIQUE,Formerly THE DENVER JOURNAL OF HOMEOPATHY,VOL. V. DENVER, COLO., MARCH 15,1898. No. 3.


By Walter J. King, 

Resident Physician, Denver Homeopathic Hospital.

While a true homeopath never prescribes for one symptom
only, but always in his prescribing considers the totality of
the symptoms, yet their are single symptoms which often serve
as guide-posts and point towards that remedy which, when the
totality of the symptoms is taken into consideration, is found to
be the indicated remedy. Not only in the treatment, but also
in the diagnosis, one symptom may assist us greatly in quickly
and correctly reaching a decision.

The tongue is a mirror in which we may discover by its
color, coating, volume, dryness and movements, the reflection of
the condition of the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems,
and the state of the secretions. A red, smooth tongue is a sign
of failing nutrition; a clean, smooth and bright red tongue indicates
inflammation of the gastric or intestinal mucous membrane.
Whenever the blood is watery and deficient in red
globules, we find the tongue remarkably pale. It is very red in
glossitis; in inflammation of the fauces or of the pharynx; it is
exceedingly red and shining in scarlet fever, also to a lesser
degree in the other exanthemata. In dangerous cases of pneumonia
and bronchitis, or in structural diseases of the heart, the
tongue is bluish and livid; this is due to deficient aeration or to
an obstruction to the flow of the venous blood. In chronic
diarrhoea and dysentery it is often red, smooth and dry; this
condition is also a frequent attendant on the cachexias. A clean
red tongue, with papillae prominent, or a white coating through
which the red papillae appear, is usually indicative of scarlet
fever, though sometimes present in pneumonia. The tongue is
loaded with a whitish coat of epithelium in inflammation of the
respiratory textures, at the beginning of fevers, and in disorders
of large portions of the abdominal mucous tract. In disturbances
of the liver, a yellowish coat is apt to be present; when
the blood is contaminated, the coat will be of a brown or very
dark hue. A furred appearance of the tongue is apt to be
present in scrofulous children; it is often present in grave acute
maladies, also sometimes in chronic diseases of the abdominal
viscera. A thick yellowish sheathing of one side may be produced
by decayed teeth or affections of the fauces. A pale
flabby tongue "with large papilla" is indicative of gastric debility;
also present in chlorosis. A sharp and pointed tongue is
often observed in inflammation or irritation of the brain. The
tongue will be found swollen in inflammation of its own sub-
stance' It will be swollen, broad and flabby in low fevers, in
in some affections of the brain, as a consequence upon the disturbed
circulation which accompanies diseases of the heart, and
sometimes in chronic ailments of the digestive organs. A relaxed,
dilated, and tremulous tongue indicates nervous or congestive
fevers. A dry, dark colored, glazed, furred or fissured
tongue, especially in acute diseases, is always to be dreaded, because
it is proof, not only that the secretions are arrested, but
also of depraved blood and ebbing life force. A dry tongue is
never a favorable sign. A fissured tongue is congenital in some
persons; it may occur in chronic inflammation of the intestines
or in chronic affections of the liver. In diabetes, coma, or persistent
breathing through the mouth, the tongue will be dry.
Impeded and tremulous movements of the tongue are attendant
in delibitated conditions of the system. In hemiplegia one side
is crippled, and the tongue turns away from the affected side of
the organ. A serious cerebral lesion is to be thought of when
the patient has imperfect articulation associated with difficulty
in moving the tongue.

The following manifestations or symptoms of the tongue
indicate a serious condition; a livid color, a very red, shining or
raw aspect, a heavy coating of a dark or black hue, dryness, or
tremulous action.

A few remedies that may be pointed to by the tongue are
as follows:

Antimonium Crudum:—Thick, milky-white coating on the
tongue, from slow digestion.
Antimonium Tartaricum:—Tongue coated thinly, white
with reddened papillae; red edges; tongue very red, dry in the
middle, with bitter taste.

Arsenicum Album:—Gangrene of tongue; spots on tongue
burn like fire.
Arum Triphyllum:—Tongue red like a beet, with prominent
papillae, excessive salivation.
Aurum Metallicum:—Tongue stiff and hard as leather; taste
entirely lost, craves nothing but acids.
Acidum Muriaticum:—Aphthae and ulceration of tongue,
which is heavy and paralyzed; taste acrid and putrid, like rotten
eggs, with ptyalism.
Belladonna:—Papillae deep red, inflamed and enlarged;
tongue fissured; trembling when protruded.
Borax:—Aphthous stomatitis.
Bryonia Alb:—Grayish or thick yellow coating; dry, brown
tongue; everything tastes bitter.
Gelsemium Sempervirens:—Can hardly protrude the tongue
it trembles so; speech thick, from congestion of the base of the
Hydrastis Canadensis:—Tongue large, flabby and slimy
looking; coating yellow, slimy, sticky, furred, Stomatitis materna.
Hyoscyamus Niger:—Tongue dry, red, brown, cracked and
Iodium:—Tongue heavily coated, continuous taste of salt
in the mouth; ravenous hunger, cannot be satisfied.
Ipecacuanha:—Constant nausea with a clean tongue.
Iris Versicolor:—Gums and tongue feel as though covered
with a greasy substance.
Kali Bichromicum:—Tongue thick, broad and mapped or
coated with thick, yellow felt.
Lachesis:—Tongue dry, red, black, stiff, cracked, much
trembling of tongue when protruding; tongue catches on the
teeth when protruding.
Leptandra Virginica:—Tongue coated yellow or black down
the middle.
Mercurius:—Very heavy, thick, moist, yellow coated tongue,
which takes the imprint of the teeth; fetid breath but
sweet taste in the mouth.
Mezereum:—Burning in the tongue extending to stomach.
Natrum Muriaticum:—Great complaints about the dryness
of the tongue, which is not very dry.
Nux Moschata:—Tongue so dry it sticks to the palate, especially
after sleeping, without thirst; the saliva seems like cotton.
Nux Vomica:—The first half of the tongue is clean or comparatively
clean; sometimes it is red and shining, but the posterior half
is coated with a deep fur.
Opium:—Paralysis of the tongue; tongue white, mouth
dry with unquenchable thirst from arrest of mucous secretions.
Ostrya Virginica:—Yellow coated tongue, slimy, coppery,
bitter taste.
Phytolacca Dec:—Tongue feels rough with blisters on the
sides, and a very red tip; great pain in the root of the tongue
when swallowing.
Podophyllum Peltatum:—Tongue full and broad with pasty
coat in the center and shows imprints of teeth, from portal congestion.
Pulsatilla Nigricans:—Tongue coated whitish yellow, with
tenacious mucus.
Rhus Toxicodendron:—Tongue has a triangular red tip,
white often on one side; takes imprint of teeth.
Sepia:—Large, pale, flabby and indentated tongue.
Silicon:—Sensation as if a hair were lying on fore-part of
tongue; tastes of blood in the morning.
Spigelia:—Fine stitches in the tongue, is full of cracks.
Stramonium:—Tongue yellowish-brown and dry on the
center or swelled and dry, showing the imprint of the teeth,
no desire for water, all kinds of food tastes like straw.
Sulphur:—Whitish or yellow coating; red tip and borders:
burning and dryness of the tongue.
Terebinthina:—Tongue red, smooth and glossy, as if deprived
of papillae in typhoid fevers.
Taraxacum:—White coated tongue, which peels off, giving
"mapped" appearance.
Thuja Occidentalis:—Ranula on both sides of the tongue,
transparent, of a bluish-red-gray and jelly-like appearance.
Slow speech. Tip of the tongue sore to the touch.
Ustilago Madis:—Prickling sensation in the tongue, with
a feeling as if something was under the roots of the tongue
pressing upward. Slimy, coppery taste.
Valeriana:—Tongue thickly coated, with taste as of rancid
Veratrum Album:—Tongue cold; unquenchable desire for
cold drinks; dry, blackish, cracked tongue, or coated yellow,
with red tip and edges.
Veratrum Viride:—Tongue yellow at the sides, with a red
streak along the center and inclined to be dry.
Yucca:—Sallow yellow face and tongue, tongue takes imprints
of teeth.
Zincum:—Taste of blood in the mouth; sweetish rising
from the stomach, with a clean, red tongue; tongue dry and
feels heavy.

No comments: