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Health: Why it's wise to watch your mouth; Jane Woodhead discovers your tongue can say a lot about you.

Byline: Jane Woodhead

FEELING under the weather? Then don't be surprised if your GP asks you to stick your tongue out... They can tell, just by looking, if you are a smoker, have a stomach upset, or are suffering from stress.

As an indicator of the state of your health, your tongue has more than you might think to say about you.

It is even said to be possible to check every major organ in the body just by looking at the tongue.

The heart is represented at the tip and just behind that is the lungs; the broad middle section displays the state of the stomach and spleen; the kidneys and bladder correspond to the back; the liver is on the left and the gallbladder on the right.

Tongue diagnosis is something which has been used for centuries by Chinese medics to detect health problems.

Now scientists in America are taking computerised images of patients' tongues to give an early indication of colon cancer.

But health chiefs are urging people not to become over concerned if they see changes in the appearance of their tongues.

Food and drugs can change the coating and colour of the body of the tongue. Some people may also be born with a cracked tongue - entirely normal and not a cause for concern.

The majority of us have smooth and slightly moist tongues which are pink with no bumps or spots.

The most common signs of ill health are cracks which are not normally there, together with yellow coatings, swelling and red patches.

Common complaints include: Crack down the centre of the tongue This may indicate a bad stomach or indigestion problems. This is also a sign of being fatigued as a result of a lack of essential nutrients.

Solution: Try eating more easily digested foods, such as soups and stews. Eat your food more slowly and chew it properly.

Ensure you are drinking enough water. Sore tongue: A possible sign of nutrient deficiency, in particular vitamins B6, B12 and iron.

Solution: Eat foods including brown rice,

avocados and vegetables. Teeth marks around the side of the tongue: Nutrient or spleen deficiency. Solution: Eat foods including carrots, celery, oats, parsley, chicken, fish and root vegetables.

Burning tongue: Stomach upset. Solution: Drink two cups of dandelion tea a day.

Swollen tongue or thick white coating Sign of too much mucus, a lack of beneficial bacteria.

Solution: Eat more green leafy vegetables.

Horizontal cracks or small cracks: This is often a sign of malabsorption, particularly of B vitamins.

Solution: Drink peppermint tea to calm the stomach and nettle tea to fortify the body with B vitamins. Also try eating brown rice. Two tablespoons of aloe vera juice before meals will also help with overall digestive health. Try to eat more green leafy vegetables.

Red tip: This could be an indication of emotional upset or emotional stress, rather than problems with the heart Solution: If you feel you cannot copealone, talk things through with friends or a counsellor If you are concerned about your health, contact your GP
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2005
Words:511
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