The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Possible causes and remedies:
In Chinese Medicine, glossitis can be associated with two so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here glossitis can be caused by two different patterns.
To understand whether someone's glossitis might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from glossitis alone. For instance when glossitis is caused by the pattern Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, patients also experience symptoms such as thirst, epigastric pain, dry mouth and restlnessness. Similarly, patients with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua) or full (Shi) pulses as well as a red centre tongue with yellow coating.
We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with glossitis so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.
Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with glossitis, depending on which pattern fits your profile.
The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red centre
Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and bleeding of the gums. Body Fluids are burned off by the excessive Heat, which creates extreme thirst and constipation. Over time the Heat can cause obstruction to Stomach Qi, resulting in vomiting, acid reflux and nausea.
Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy, sugary and deep fried foods. Other factors such as alcohol and tobacco use may also be the reason. Stomach Fire often derives from other patterns such as Stomach Qi Stagnation. Anger, frustration and resentment can cause such stagnation, which as a result leads to Stomach Fire.
The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)
Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating
Tongue color: Red
Tongue shape: Cracked
Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is often paired together with Deficient Liver Yin and/or Deficient Lung Yin.
It can be caused by overwork over a period of several years. Another common cause is excessive sexual activity that consumes both Kidney Essence and Kidney Yin. Other causes include chronic long term illness, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Yang tonic herbs, smoking and Kidney-depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar and fruit juices.
Source date: 1624 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.
Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat and Kidney Yin Deficiency which are sometimes associated with glossitis. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).
Source date: 1336 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.
Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with glossitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).