Tongue Ulcersaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Oral and Throat Ulcers and Sores

Parent symptom: Mouth Ulcers

Root Causes of Tongue Ulcers in TCM

Explore below more details about what might cause Tongue ulcers according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Heat
  • Mind Disturbance
  • Small Intestine
  • Heart
  • Pericardium
Detailed description of the cause

Heat

In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Tongue Ulcers

Common Symptoms: Restlessness Insomnia Mouth Ulcers Cardiac Burning Sensation Hematuria Palpitations Thirst Anxiety

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Full-Heat in the Small Intestine Tongue ulcers, Restlessness, Insomnia, Mouth ulcers, Throat pain, Deafness, Cardiac burning sensation, Abdominal pain, Craving for cold beverages, Scanty and dark urine, Hematuria, Urinary burning... see more Dao Chi San
Heart Fire blazing Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Insomnia, Flushed face, Hematuria, Dark urine, Bitter taste in the mouth... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan | Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin
Pericardium Fire Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Stifling sensation in the chest, Bitter taste in the mouth, Insomnia, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Cardiac burning sensation, Rapid respiration, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Vivid dreaming, Excessive menstruation... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan
Detailed description of the cause

Mind Disturbance

In TCM "Shen" refers to the mind or spirit, and a Shen disturbance is a pattern of disharmony that affects the mental and emotional state. This concept reflects the TCM belief in the deep interconnectedness of mind and body. Symptoms of Shen disturbance can vary widely but often include anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, confusion, or in severe cases, hallucinations or delirium. These symptoms indicate an imbalance in the body's energies affecting the heart, which in TCM is not only the center of blood circulation but also the seat of the mind and consciousness. The root of Shen disturbance can be traced to various factors, including emotional stress, physical illness, or an imbalance in fundamental substances like Qi, Yin, or Yang.... see more

Mind Disturbance Patterns That Can Lead to Tongue Ulcers

Common Symptoms: Palpitations Thirst Mouth Ulcers Restlessness Anxiety Feeling Hot Insomnia Flushed Face

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Fire blazing Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Insomnia, Flushed face, Hematuria, Dark urine, Bitter taste in the mouth... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan | Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin
Pericardium Fire Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Stifling sensation in the chest, Bitter taste in the mouth, Insomnia, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Cardiac burning sensation, Rapid respiration, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Vivid dreaming, Excessive menstruation... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan
Detailed description of the cause

Small Intestine

In TCM the Small Intestine plays a critical role in receiving partially digested food from the Stomach and further separating the clear from the turbid, essentially distinguishing nutrients from waste. This process is vital for proper absorption and assimilation of food. The Small Intestine is also associated with clarity of judgment and decision-making. When it malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to digestive issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, poor appetite, or irregular bowel movements. Additionally, a malfunctioning Small Intestine may manifest as mental confusion or difficulty in making decisions, reflecting its role in discernment and clarity in both physical and mental realms. ... see more

Small Intestine Patterns That Can Lead to Tongue Ulcers

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Full-Heat in the Small Intestine Tongue ulcers, Restlessness, Insomnia, Mouth ulcers, Throat pain, Deafness, Cardiac burning sensation, Abdominal pain, Craving for cold beverages, Scanty and dark urine, Hematuria, Urinary burning... see more Dao Chi San
Detailed description of the cause

Heart

In TCM the Heart is considered the "emperor" of all organs, primarily responsible for governing Blood and housing the mind, known as "Shen." It plays a crucial role in maintaining mental-emotional equilibrium and controlling the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body. When the Heart is imbalanced or malfunctions in TCM, it can lead to a range of issues like heart palpitations, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, and a flushed complexion. Emotional disturbances such as excessive joy or lack of joy are also seen as signs of Heart disharmony. These symptoms reflect not just physical heart conditions but also the state of one's Shen, indicating the interconnectedness of physical and emotional well-being in TCM.... see more

Heart Patterns That Can Lead to Tongue Ulcers

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Fire blazing Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Insomnia, Flushed face, Hematuria, Dark urine, Bitter taste in the mouth... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan | Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Pericardium

In TCM the Pericardium is more than a physical membrane protecting the heart; it's considered an organ system that acts as the "Heart's protector." It plays a crucial role in safeguarding the heart from external pathogenic factors and emotional disturbances. The Pericardium is also involved in regulating blood circulation and influencing emotional well-being, especially in terms of relationships and intimacy. When the Pericardium malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to symptoms that mirror heart issues, such as chest pain or palpitations, but often with an emotional component like difficulty in forming emotional connections or excessive vulnerability to external stressors. Additionally, a disturbed Pericardium can result in sleep disturbances, anxiety, and in severe cases, mental confusion, reflecting its integral role in both physical heart protection and emotional balance.... see more

Pericardium Patterns That Can Lead to Tongue Ulcers

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Pericardium Fire Tongue ulcers, Palpitations, Stifling sensation in the chest, Bitter taste in the mouth, Insomnia, Thirst, Mouth ulcers, Cardiac burning sensation, Rapid respiration, Restlessness, Anxiety, Feeling hot, Vivid dreaming, Excessive menstruation... see more Xie Xin Tang | Zi Xue Dan

TCM Herbal Formulas for Tongue Ulcers

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address tongue ulcers, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Heat
  • Mind Disturbance
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity
  • Formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices

All Formulas Recommended for Tongue Ulcers Caused by Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Xie Xin Tang Heart Fire blazing, Pericardium Fire
Zi Xue Dan Heart Fire blazing, Pericardium Fire
Dao Chi San Full-Heat in the Small Intestine
Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin Heart Fire blazing

All Formulas Recommended for Tongue Ulcers Caused by Mind Disturbance

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Xie Xin Tang Heart Fire blazing, Pericardium Fire
Zi Xue Dan Heart Fire blazing, Pericardium Fire
Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin Heart Fire blazing

All "formulas that clear heat from the organs" recommended for tongue ulcers

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Dao Chi San Full-Heat in the Small Intestine
Qing Xin Lian Zi Yin Heart Fire blazing

Acupoints for Tongue Ulcers

Explore below some acupoints used to address tongue ulcers, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Pericardium Channel
  • Directing Vessel
  • Heart Channel
Laogong P-8

Laogong P-8

In the center of the palm, between the 2nd and the 3rd metacarpal bones, proximal to the metacarpophalangeal joint.

Lianquan REN-23

Lianquan REN-23

On the anterior midline of the neck, above the Adm's apple, in the depression at the upper border of the hyoid bone.

Shaofu HE-8

Shaofu HE-8

On the palmar surface, between the 4th and 5th metacarpal bones. When a fist is made, the point is where the tip of the little finger rests.