Our mouth is both an organ of intake and elimination and can give us important information regarding our health. Getting to know your tongue can help guide you towards understanding how well your Agni is functioning, your digestive strength of absorption and general health.
Sensing your breath and checking your tongue reveals to us the health of our digestive system. If there is a chronic issue and consistent bad smellling breath or thick coating on the tongue, then detoxing is certainly required. Undigested foods will usually cause toxins to build up which are evident in bad breath and toxins. Oil pulling and tongue scraping can be practiced in the morning before brushing your teeth. See our Daily Morning Routines section for more information on healthy living.
Taste is a fundamental essense of enjoying foods, and when the tongue is coated with ama, the taste of healthy natural food is reduced, often leading to choices of overly salted, vinegared or artificial food flavours which are destructive to the body and create a downward spiral. often it canlead to over eating as there is a sense of lack when eating a meal, so more is consumed. There was an experiment where rats were deprived of their sense of taste. Although they weres still fed the same diet and the rats continued to eat, a significant amount died compared to the control group, proving that taste is fundamental to good digestion and enjoyment of the life
Prepare for tongue scraping by looking at your tongue in the mirror. Notice where the accumulation of the coating of ama (toxic glue) is. Then, with a tongue scraper, scrape off the coating from your tongue with firm movements from the back of the tongue and off the tip. Check your tongue scraper each time to note the quality of what is coming off. The thicker it is – the more ama has accumulated. The colour will indicate which Dosha is out of balance. Thick white indicates Kapha, yellowish colour indicates Pitta and brown or grey indicates Vata.
Notice that the tongue holds toxins, or Ama, in two layers. The first layer, which is easily scraped off, is Ama that is produced within the digestive tract due to undigested foods within that 24 hour period since you last scraped.The second layer, which remains on the tongue despite scraping, is Ama that is in our deeper tissues. Notice that when you have eaten well and appropriately for your dosha the day before, less Ama tends to collect on your tongue, while days where dietary intake has not been appropriate for your body, or you have not been attentive to your Agni – digestive fire, there is more ama– toxins. This gives us an immediate feedback of how we are improving our digestion and how we are re-balancing our health. See Agni for more understanding of ayurvedas’ key concept of maintaining health.