Most people don't even notice the cracks on their tongue. But in Ayurveda, cracks on your tongue tell an important story. Discover what a tongue diagnosis of cracks on your tongue means and how to remedy a cracked tongue with Ayurveda.
What do Cracks Mean?
A healthy tongue has no cracks. A tongue without cracks is frequently soft and supple. Such a tongue looks full and moistened indicating the body is hydrated. A crackless tongue reveals that the person is well nourished and that rasa dhatu (plasma) and rakta dhatu (red blood cells) are healthy. Children's tongues provide a good gauge for what a healthy tongue should look like and rarely have cracks. It is common to see cracks on the tongues of elderly individuals who are more prone to dryness, digestive issues and Vata aggravation.
Cracks on the tongue generally indicate the tongue is deficient in fluids, and relatively empty compared to the full, moistened tongue described above. Cracks on the tongue generally indicate a Vata disorder relating to excess dry quality in the body. A tongue with cracks is inadequately moistened and therefore, often the whole body is also dehydrated. Depending on the depths and severity of the cracks, they can also indicate a more severe Vata imbalance relating to degeneration in tissue (loss of ojas).
Cracks Often Reveal the Severity of Your Condition
Throughout the body, pathology starts as a loss of vitality (a loss of prana and tejas). If the imbalance is not addressed, it gradually leads to a loss of substance (ojas) in the form of tissue degeneration. Therefore, a tissue loses prana and tejas before ojas is depleted.
Cracks also follow this general pattern. A single, small, superficial crack is not very significant in terms of pathology. It indicates a mild Vata imbalance or loss of fluids. The resultant loss of vitality is often easily remedied with adequate hydration, balanced nutrition, reduction in stress levels, or gentle cleansing to reduce toxicity.
As imbalances progress, cracks get more numerous, longer and deeper. A very deep imbalance will lead to cracks distributed over entire tongue. Deeper and more numerous cracks always suggests an injury to fluids and/or tissue itself. Re-hydration, and rejuvenation are essential in addressing such an imbalance, but may not be sufficient. To heal a disorder in this stage, pancha karma, and detailed examination of the root cause may be necessary.
To assess the progression of a disorder through the various disease stages, cracks are rated as mild, medium or severe according to the depth, length, location, distribution and number of cracks. Cracks may appear on the tongue suddenly with onset of an illness, stress, or diet and lifestyle changes. If a crack on the tongue develops during an illness, it can mean that the condition is chronic and severe.
Location & Pattern of Cracks
The location of a crack potentially corresponds to an organ, though you need to look for other signs to confirm there is an issue with that organ. One may wonder, how does the location on the tongue relate to an organ far away in the body? The reason is due to differences in circulation that occur over the surface of the tongue. As organ imbalances affect the blood and circulation, they affect different areas of the tongue differently.
The back of the tongue is most sensitive to dehydration and fluid volume. The sides of the tongue are most sensitive to blood stagnation. The center of the tongue enjoys the most circulation, while the tip of the tongue is most affected by heat. These differences in circulation lead to topical changes in the surface of the tongue. Vasoconstriction, for example, affects the edges of the tongue more than the center, leading to a color change, or a change in location of cracks.
Lines anywhere on tongue indicate accumulation of Vata in that area of the body. If a crack runs along the entire midline there may be stress held along spine or a heart issue. Lines around the heart area can indicate tight shoulders which can cause low blood flow to the heart.
Cracks on the edges of the tongue reveal that the digestive fire (agni) is impaired. A crack in the center of tongue means that the stomach is injured - likely because of a Vata imbalance. If the crack runs from center of the tongue to the tip there is likely a heart disorder or congenital heart problems.
Common Imbalances Involving Cracks
The most common pattern is appearance of superficial cracks appear along with a reddish tongue. This indicates dryness creating heat which translates to a Vata pushing Pitta disorder. There's a tendency for dryness and heat to go together in the body, just as in the desert. The remedy is to moisten the tongue by hydrating and nourishing your body (a technique called building ojas). Try a rice pudding for example, or almond shake. Sometimes, pathogens or other external factors come into play with this pattern, requiring nuances in your approach.
Cracks with a pale tongue indicate a Vata imbalance due to blood deficiency (rakta). A pale tongue indicates that the digestive fire (agni) is low. Color can be restored with digestives like ginger and black pepper as well as easy to digest foods like kitchari and soups.
Deeper cracks with a pale tongue indicate chronic injury to fluids and or tissues. There may be dehydration and/or kidney flushing due to toxins in the blood. The person will likely feel depleted and could benefit from foods that enrich the blood without overwhelming the digestive system. Bone broth, borscht, pomegranate juice and raisins all serve to rebuild the blood.
Deep cracks with a very red tongue are more severe indicating severe depletion of fluids / rasa dhatu and a flareup of Pitta. The excess heat has caused an imbalance in the blood (rasa and rakta dhatus) and may be burning up fluids (tejas burning ojas). Cooling foods like bitter greens, coconut water and aloe vera gel will bring relief.
The most severe situation is cracks on a red shiny tongue. This means there has been severe injury to tissues, ojas, fluids and the blood plasma (rasa). The stomach is likely damaged and the body extremely depleted. The person will need the help of an advanced practitioner to recover from this level of imbalance, favoring building foods that are easy to digest such as bone broth, chicken soup, almonds, warm milk (if digested well) and ghee.
A tongue that appears shredded is likely the result of epileptic fits which cause a person to inadvertently chew their tongue.
Through accurate assessment of the underlying imbalances, you will notice that cracks heal and may even disappear altogether. The GI, and the tongue, are ever changing environments where rapid recovery, and decline as possible. Take a look at the following example from the Joyful Belly clinic:
After 3 Weeks
About Tongue Diagnosis & Assessment
Your tongue is a window into your innards. When you look at your tongue, it is as if you are peering down a periscope into the depths of a submarine - your organs beneath the surface.
The tissues of the tongue and mouth are especially similar to the tissues of your GI tract, with many of the same bacteria as well. That's why the appearance of the tongue often mirrors that of your digestive tract, or is at least suggestive of GI pathologies down below. If your tongue looks healthy, your digestive system is probably healthy. However, if your tongue looks unhealthy, your GI tract may be compromised.
Changes in your GI often cause changes on your tongue. For example, if you have a sore in your mouth, you may have a sore somewhere along your GI. If your tongue is inflamed, your GI may also be inflamed. The appearance of the tongue and the GI is not always the same, but often tongue provides clues to what is happening deeper within. When your tongue responds positively to treatment, chances are your GI will too.
The tongue is a useful tool for assessing the health of all organs and tissues in the body. This should not be a surprise. Organs perform important functions and when these functions are compromised, the effects are noticeable everywhere including on the tongue. The tongue is especially useful for assessment because it is an internal organ visible from the outside, and therefore offers different cues than the skin or eyes.
To assess the tongue, Practitioners look at the entire surface of the tongue, including underneath the tongue, and the back of tongue. Practitioners look at tongue coating, coating color, surface features, tongue body shape, and tongue body color. Of particular note are cracks on the surface of the tongue.
Tongue assessment has several advantages over other techniques, including pulse diagnosis, because tongues are assessed with the eyes, arguably the most well developed of the 5 senses in humans. Seeing is believing! Additionally, it is possible to analyze the tongue over the phone, skype or via photo. This enables practitioners to effectively work with clients from afar.
Tongue assessment is also easier to learn and less subjective than pulse. Pulse changes rapidly throughout a session according to the anxiety of the client, whereas the tongue is relatively stable.
The tongue is a digestive organ. Since we specialize in digestion at Joyful Belly, we specialize in tongue assessment and analysis. Students in our Mastering Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition program learn how to determine organ imbalances, constitutional strengths and deficiencies, as well as the quality and nature of fluids via tongue assessment.
The fascinating art of tongue assessment is a window into the interior of the client. The tongue shows the depth and nature of imbalances clueing practitioners into the gunas and doshas that need support. Observing the tongue allows you to measure the progress of a disorder as well as track the client's recovery.
To start your journey into tongue analysis, begin by looking at your tongue in the mirror every morning.
Disclaimer: Conditions such as 'Many cracks on tongue' that cause tissue changes could be serious and should be checked by a medical doctor.
Augment your diet with these specially chosen ingredients below which may be useful for 'Many cracks on tongue'.
Individual results vary depending the cause of your imbalance and by constitution.
Please research the ingredients below to find which are most helpful for you, and check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for medical care.
Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA HEAL 'MANY CRACKS ON TONGUE'?
AVOID DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS THAT AGGRAVATE THESE EFFECTS
According to Ayurveda, one or more of the following
and biocharacteristics may aggravate 'Many cracks on tongue'.
If you have an excess of one of these doshas or biocharacteristics below, Ayurveda recommends reducing foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate them.
Click on the biocharacteristic to learn what foods and
lifestyle habits should be reduced.
Symptoms Tell A Story
The first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms.
Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances.
Symptoms show you where your body is weakened.
Ultimately, all disease has a root in tissues too weak to defend itself.
Ayurveda describes these patterns of weakness using doshas & biocharacteristics.
If you notice a biocharacteristic or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms,
it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
FAVOR DIETS, LIFESTYLES & HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL EFFECTS
Everything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using biocharacteristics (gunas).
Biocharacteristics are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body.
Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism.
Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism.
For 'Many cracks on tongue', you should select foods with the following biocharacteristics.
Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance.
FOODS TO FAVOR
CONDITION IN YOUR BODY
ABOUT OILY BIOCHARACTERISTIC
Oily refers to anything fatty, or that increases fat.
MANY CRACKS ON TONGUE IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 4 - TISSUE DISEASE
If you have symptoms in this category it means your imbalances have overwhelmed your body's resistance causing a full-fledged disease.
Once imbalance reaches this stage it is more likely to cause acute or chronic conditions.
You might be tempted to focus your attention on fighting symptoms in this category, but dismiss earlier warning signs of imbalance - i.e. symptoms in the stage 1 category.
It is ideal to find and address the root causes weakening your system and remove them first.
This ensures you are not adding fuel to the fire of disease.
Once the root causes are removed, you can work on addressing the disease head on along with strengthening your body.
This typically yields a quicker recovery and prevents recurrence.
Ayurveda's preventative approach suggests you pay careful attention to every stage of disease development.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITS
The following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Many cracks on tongue'.
See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type.
Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
Biocharacteristics of the 1,809 People Reporting Many cracks on tongue
On average the biocharacteristics
of people reporting Many cracks on tongue were more aggravated than 64% of other symptoms.
From the 1,809 people who reported Many cracks on tongue in this research study of 74,671 individuals,
average deviation in biocharacteristic levels were the following:
Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic,
systemic approach, instead of focusing only on the disorder in question. Ayurveda
shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them
using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't
take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you.
Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an
exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?
Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type,
which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths).
It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders.
Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder.
It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of biocharaceristics (gunas).
For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc.
This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalanced biocharacteristics.
By eating an optimal diet that balances your biocharacteristics, your whole body is strengthened
and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease
are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies -
such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance
To get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body
type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so
by taking this quiz, you’ll get the best results.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.