Ayurveda’s success can be attributed to its organized and methodical ways, a good example being Ayurveda’s clinical examination methods. A proper diagnosis forms the basis for effective treatment.
Ayurveda (Yogratnakara) has advocated Eightfold Examination -Ashtavidha Pariksha of a patient This is the eight fold examination of the patient includes following points.
- 1 Nadi(Pulse)
- 2 Mootra(Urine)
- 3 Mala(Stool)
- 4 Jiwha(Tongue)
- 5 Shabda( Voice and speech of the patient)
- 6 Sparsha(Touch, skin and tactile sense)
- 7 Drik(Eyes and vision)
- 8 Akriti(General body build)
Examination of the tongue (jivha pariksha):
A normal tongue is medium sized in relation to overall body size, is a fresh pink colour, with a thin and moist coating without any markings. Examination of the tongue provides important information on the health of a person, particularly for the diagnosis of digestive disorders. The examination of tongue reveals the state of Agni and Digestive Tract as well as the condition of doshas in the body. Hence it is called that the tongue is the mirror of digestion. By examining the tongue, one can infer not only the state of doshas, but certain conditions about the tissues and the organs also, along with presence of ama.
While examining the tongue following points should be noted – Size, shape, color, margins, character and surface.
- Size- Kapha people have very large sized tongue while Pitta have medium and Vata have small size tongue.
- Shape- The shape of the tongue in Kapha and Pitta persons is regular but in case of Vata it can be irregular.
- Contour of tongue of Kapha and Pitta persons is regular, however in Vata persons it could be zigzag like biting tongue, due to nervousness.
- Color- Kapha tongue is slightly whitish in color, that of Pitta is yellowish and Vata tongue is blackish in color. In anemia color becomes very pale and in jaundice it becomes too much yellow. The blue color denotes the deformity in the heart.
- Character - coating of the tongue – Normally the tongue is pink without any coating. It can be whitish due to bad oral hygiene or due to accumulation of ama. If the coating can be removed by scrapping then it is due to bad oral hygiene. The white coating due to ama cannot be removed by washing or scrapping the tongue.
Vata disturbances on the tongue – Small cracks all over the tongue; Dry, dark tongue; Film over the back of the tongue; Rough back area; Small dark pimples; and Black to brown coloration on the tongue.
Pitta disturbance on the tongue – tongue is reddish in color with sores or ulcers and a burning sensation, There are bumps or bright red patched areas in the middle of the tongue; If it is greasy as well this indicates that pitta and ama have mixed together. If yellow and dry the pitta and vata have mixed together.
Kapha disturbances on the tongue – White thick coating tongue; Oily film on the tongue; If the coating is thick white and greasy kapha and ama have mixed together. If the coating is a pale yellow then kapha has mixed with pitta.
It is said that The tongue is the mirror of the viscera.
A discoloration and /or sensitivity of a particular area of the tongue indicates a disorder in the organ corresponding to that area.
The front one-third of the tongue relates to the lungs, heart, chest, and neck. Froth in the middle of this area is often a sign of low lung energy and may translate as a cold, bronchitis, asthma, or respiratory allergy. If there is a small depression in the heart area, it often relates to intense grief, sadness, or depression.
The central third of the tongue relates to the liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas. Small ulcers on the tongue in the stomach area may reflect gastritis or peptic ulcer.
The rear one-third area of the tongue relates to the lower abdominal organs, such as the small intestine and colon. If this posterior part of the tongue is covered with coating, that is ama or toxins in the colon.
Ayurvedic Art of Diagnosis - Ayurveda is the practice based medicines. Correct diagnosis can be done only after proper clinical examination. Ayurveda treats patient as a whole and not only disease and hence proper clinical examination is of utmost importance.