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How to take useful tongue pictures

Wait at least one hour after waking up to take your tongue picture. The tongue may appear more pale than it really is first thing in the morning.

Do not scrape, clean, spindle or mutilate your tongue's coating before taking the picture. The tongue coating is an important diagnostic tool. So don't scrape it the day that you take the tongue picture.

Take the picture during the day when there is some sunlight in the room. You don't want to be directly in the sun, but in a location where there is plenty of light. Indoors is okay, but its best to have some natural light coming in. Even better is outdoors, but in the shade. My goal here is to get the right color balance. If you take a picture of your tongue beneath fluorescent lights, it can look artificially green.

Take a picture of your tongue sticking out of your mouth. Don't point the tongue. Just let it fall out and be relaxed. This enables me to see the shape of the tongue. If you're "pointing" your tongue out of the mouth, then I won't see its natural shape.

Take the picture within five seconds of sticking out your tongue. When you leave your tongue out of the mouth for longer than that, it tends to turn purple. If your tongue is purple even if you're just sticking it out for one second then I want to see that, but all tongues will turn purple if you leave them out for too long. (kids, there's a science fair project in this somewhere!)

Then take another picture of your entire face, with your tongue back in your mouth. This will give me a great deal of diagnostic information about your general constitution. More importantly, I'll be able to adjust the color balance of your tongue image if I can see your skin tones. It would be best if you don't put on makeup or otherwise try to mask your appearance. We're not trying to look good here, we're trying to show me what's going on so I can get you the right herbal formula. This picture will not be used for any purpose other than the immediate concern to determine which herbs you'll need.

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tongue-picture.shtml was last modified Apr 07 2009.
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