According to doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), your tongue can tell a lot about your health. Practitioners typically observe the shape, color, coating and any cracks or spots on the patient’s tongue. You should not attempt to self-diagnose your health based on your tongue and should seek a professional’s opinion. It should be noted that a normal tongue is a pinkish color and has a thin white coating that is uniform.


Thrush, also known as Candida or yeast infection, is a common cause of a white tongue.

Qi/Blood Deficiency

A pale, white tongue can indicate that a person has a Qi or blood deficiency. In TCM, white is the color of metal and refers to the lungs and colon. This person is probably low on energy.


Leukoplakia can occur on the tongue as well as other areas of the mouth and are white patches that may appear “hairy.” Leukoplakia may clear up on its own and, in rare cases, may lead to cancer. Leukoplakia is common in smokers.

Organ Health and Function

Each area of the tongue refers to a specific organ, and a white patch in an area may suggest dysfunction in that organ.


White fur resembling cottage cheese refers to heat in the stomach.


A thick, white coating on the tongue signifies retention of phlegm and fluid within the body.

References and Resources

Tongue Diagnosis


Tongue and Health