Part of the daily routine in Ayurveda includes tongue scraping. This is an important part of daily hygiene, just like brushing your teeth, and can provide information about your health and your habits.
Each morning upon awakening, the tongue should be inspected for a coating. This coating is an indication of ama or toxicity in the system. This process increases your awareness and puts you in contact with your body and the functioning of your system. By knowing what is happening, you have the power to create better health by altering your behavior.
If you wake up and smell last night’s meal, it means that the food is not yet thoroughly digested. If there is a lot of coating on the tongue, it means there is much ama in the system, perhaps because you ate too late or dinner was hard to digest. In either of these cases, don’t eat breakfast; rather wait a couple hours for the food to finish being digested.
First, note the quantity on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the heaviest amount of coating; the heavier the coating, the greater amount of ama or toxicity from undigested food.
Second, note the color of the coating which will tell you which dosha has the toxicity:
- yellowish-green indicates Pitta
- brownish-black indicates Vata
- white indicates Kapha
Once you have completed your observations, it’s time to scrape the tongue. Use a scraper made of copper or stainless steel, and gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue to the front 7-14 times until the whole surface is scraped. You may not remove all of the coating if it is severe but that is ok. You do not want to excessively scrape in one sitting so do no more than 14 times with gentle strokes.
- Removes ama and bacteria from the tongue
- Freshens the breath
- Stimulates your taste buds
- Sends an indirect message to all the internal organs which stimulates your digestive fire and improves digestion
©2011, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Pewaukee, WI