Principles of tongue diagnosis

Structure and morphology of tongue
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The tongue is the muscular organ made up of the striated musclcs and it is thin, flat and long in shape. It attaches to the bottom of the mouth, inferior maxilla, lingual bone, etc. Its free part is called tongue body, which is the major inspection part in traditional Chinese medicine. Tongue surface refers to the top of tongue body (Fig. I - 1 ),

 and it is divided into tongue tip, tongue margins, tongue center and tongue root (Fig.  I - 2 ).

Sublingual part is under the tongue body ( Fig.  I - 3 ).

The center of sublingual part is the frenum of tongue and has lilac lingual vein called sublingual veins on the left and right, which are the major inspection contents of the sublingual part.

There is a layer of translucent mucous membrane covering the tongue surface. The epithelium mucosa directly sticks with the pyknotic membrane propria, where a great many tongue muscle fibers start and end. Striated muscle is the major muscle. There are affluent blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and glandular organs in the tunica propria of tongue muscles. These tissues are related with the shape and color of tongue body.

There are many tiny tongue papillae on the mucous membrane, which are divided into filiform papillae, fungiform papillae, foliate papillac and circumvallate papillae (Fig.1-4)

according to the shape of papillae. Fungiform  papilla is the main factor affecting the tongue color; filiform papillae is the main factor forming the tongue fur; foliate papilla and circumvallate papilla relate to the tastes. Fungiform papillae and filiform papillae are mostly distributed over the anterior two-thirds tongue.Fig.1-5

shows the papillae on tongue tip magnified by 60 times. Red micrangiums can be seen in the round fungiform papillae and the white dot tissue is filiform papillae.

The relations between the muscles, mucous membrane, nerves, glands and blood circulation of the tongue and the morphology of the tongue body  
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