Glossary of Tongue Color Indications

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Pale and slightly dry
Blood deficiency
Pale and Wet
Yang deficiency
Pale, bright & shiny
Qi and blood deficiency, esp ST & SP
Red w/coating
Heat in the nutritive or blood levels
Red w/o coating
Yin deficiency w/ heat
Red & wet
Heat w/ retention of dampness
Red & dry w/coating
Heat from excess burning body fluids
Red & dry w/o coating
Deficiency heat and exhaustion of body fluids
Red & shiny
Stomach and/or Kidney yin deficiency
Red and scarlet
Lung or Heart yin deficiency
Red w/red points or spots
Heat w/blood stasis
Red w/prickles
Heat in the nutritive level or in the upper or middle burner
Red w/ purple spot in center
Blood stasis and heat in ST
Red & peeled
Heat from ST & KID Yin deficiency
Dark red w/dry center
ST fire blazing or ST Yin deficiency w/heat
Reddish purple
Heat & blood stasis
Reddish purple & distended
Extreme heat w/blood stasis and toxin from alcohol injuring the Heart
Bluish purple
Blood stasis from internal cold
Bluish purple and moist
Blood stasis from internal cold stiffening the tendons and bones
Severe internal cold w/blood stasis
Blue w/o coating
Severe internal cold w/stasis and exhaustion of blood
Blue central surface
Spleen yang deficiency w/retention of phlegm in chest
Blue in a pregnant woman
Danger of imminent miscarriage
Distended veins on underside of tongue
Deficiency and stagnation of QI
If veins also dark: Blood stasis
Blue in a pregnant woman
Danger of imminent miscarriage

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