Medical diagnosis by inspecting the color, shape and coating of the tongue has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is commonly used by licensed acupuncturists prior to an acupuncture treatment or herbal medicine therapy. New research now confirms that this method of diagnosis is accurate for patients with peptic ulcer disease. The investigative team concludes that TCM tongue diagnosis techniques may be “used as a noninvasive auxiliary diagnostic method and as an indicator for clinical outcomes for patients with PUD (peptic ulcer disease).”
Researchers from the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan recruited 198 outpatients from their hospital. A total of 50 participants were healthy adults and the remaining 148 suffered from peptic ulcer diseases including gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers and Helicobacter pylori infections. The diagnosis was confirmed using upper GI endoscopy, biopsy and an organism test. An HD camera recorded the appearance of the tongues and a physician experienced in Chinese medicine evaluated the presentation of the tongues.
Next, the participants received eight weeks of ulcer therapy. A tongue inspection of the group that was completely cured of peptic ulcer disease, with no remaining Helicobacter pylori infection, showed a distinctly thinner tongue coating. The tongue coating shifted to a healthier white color and sublingual vein engorgement and blood stasis of the tongue significantly decreased. As a result, the researchers propose Traditional Chinese Medicine tongue diagnosis as an auxillary diagnostic method for patients with peptic ulcer disease.