How to Treat the Most Common Tongue Disorders

Posted on Jun 17, 2020 in Eating Disorders, Natural Health, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Toxins - Chemicals

How to Treat the Most Common Tongue Disorders

The tongue performs a number of other functions besides tasting, such as talking, swallowing and chewing. Like other parts of the body, the tongue can signal a variety of systemic problems. One condition is called geographic tongue, where the tongue has smooth, red areas with white elevations of the papillae, which make the tongue’s surface look like a landscape. The landscape changes daily as a result of normal tissue shedding in different areas of the tongue. It is not painful or serious. Another mild, but serious-looking, disorder is the hairy tongue, where the papillae grow too long and become black. Leukoplakia is an illness in which parts of the tongue and mouth are covered with a calloused, white coating. Thrush looks similar, characterized by raised, white patches bordered by red mucous membranes. Thrush typically begins on the tongue and spreads through the mouth. Wiping the coating away leaves raw, bleeding sores. Learn about different tongue disorders as well as causes and how to remedies these problems.

Case history of heavily coated tongue removed.

Amongst the elderly where it appears to be a more common occurrence, is a thick coating greenish in color starting out as more yellowish. This is due to a lack of digestive enzymes and low hydrochloric acid. This was the case of one of my patients in her 80’s. It was remedied very simply by recommending her to take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water twice a day; starting first thing in the morning. Within a week it started to peel off as a thick layer. Apple cider vinegar works like our digestive enzymes. If you were in need of these enzymes you could try 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar just before you eat a meal. Food is in your stomach for 3 hours during which time the vinegar, like a combination formula for digestive enzymes works to assist our lower secretion of natural digestive enzymes. Note though that I have only seen a tongue coating of this nature to be removed with the use of vinegar – not in the use of a digestive aid.

*This is also a great remedy for removing excess mucus from the body. Vinegar thins mucus to help the body remove it, and not accumulate as much in the throat area – which becomes very annoying for the person experiencing the feeling of mucus constantly in the throat.

Most Common Causes of Tongue Disorders

Most tongue disorders are due to vitamin deficiencies, medications, digestive problems and dietary changes. The cause of injury and irritation is usually obvious, caused by foods that are too spicy, acidic, or too hot or cold. Smoking, besides being a source of irritation, increases the risk of oral cancer. Allergies can cause sudden irritations with itching, redness and burning. Leukoplakia, which tends to occur in men between ages twenty-five and fifty- five, is likely the result of repeated exposure to irritating substances. Thrush is caused by a thriving candida infection, most common after a dose of antibiotics. Babies and the elderly, who have a low resistance, are more likely to experience thrush.

The constantly changing landscape of the geographic tongue results from a frequent shedding of the tongue’s papillae, which are the small bumps used for taste and adhesion. The cause is unknown, though inadequate amounts of B vitamins and changes in diet should be considered. The hairy tongue often occurs after antibiotic use, though irritants like mouthwashes also cause problems in some cases. A burning tongue is often a symptom of anemia, due to lack of iron or vitamin B12. Painful ulcers on the tongue tend to develop with cold sores or canker sores.


Geographic tongue or strawberry like dots on the back of the tongue and other tongue disorders are often due to a deficiency in B complex vitamins. Find relief by adding nutritional yeast to the daily diet, in juice or a smoothie or added to prepared food if the taste isn’t unpleasant. It has a cheesy taste.

Keep away from any foods that irritate the tongue, such as sugar, fried foods, salt, strong spices, peppers, animal fats, cooking oils high in omega 6 fatty acids and a GMO product like canola, sunflower, corn oils; alcohol, soft drinks, tea, coffee and chocolate. Fasting for a day or two will restore taste buds that have been over stimulated or lost their ability to taste.

Nutritional Supplements

A variety of tongue disorders can indicate nutritional deficiencies, especially in any of the B vitamins. Geographic tongue will often clear up with B vitamin supplements. A red, sore tongue associated with a sore mouth can indicate niacin or a vitamin-B6 deficiency. If the tongue also becomes smooth and shiny, the body is likely to be lacking in folic acid or B12. A vitamin B2 deficiency causes the tongue to turn purple, while a lack of pantothenic acid results in an enlarged, beefy tongue. Vitamin C deficiency causes canker sores in the mouth and on the tongue. Vitamins A and F are helpful for healing the mucous membranes.

Suggested dosages:

  • Vitamin B complex, 50 mg three times daily
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU
  • Zinc 30 mg
  • Iodine drops 150 mcg per drop – take 5 drops 3 times per day
  • Fish oils, 2000 IU to 4000 IU per day

*1 teaspoon = 60 drops

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are excellent for treating stomach and digestive disorders, stimulating the taste buds and fighting infections which cause tongue disorders.

Burning Tongue

  • If burning tongue is due to a chronic deficiency of gastric acid, use bitter herbs to trigger the flow of stomach juices. Dandelion, wormwood, plantain, black radish and nettle juice are effective. Take 1 tablespoon of herbal juices three times daily.
  • Supplement with hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes

Coated Tongue

  • Drink 3 cups of sage tea daily for three weeks to improve digestive or kidney disorders causing the tongue problem.
  • Rinse the mouth every two hours with chamomile tea, using fresh, whole blossoms, not tea bags.
  • Drink 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water twice a day starting first thing in the morning.

Geographic Tongue

  • Herbs that help decrease excess acid include chamomile, aloe vera, slippery elm, goldenseal, licorice and peppermint. Add 1 teaspoon of herbs to 1 cup of boiling water and drink three times daily.
  • Take 20—30 drops of echinacea three times daily to help relieve the pain.

Loss of Taste

  • For two weeks, take 1 tablespoon of Swedish bitters daily to stimulate the sense of taste.
  • Mix 3 parts chamomile, 2 parts lavender, 1 part calendula, 3 parts thyme, 4 parts hyssop and 3 parts juniper berries. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoon of this mix, steep for fifteen minutes, strain and drink 3 cups daily for 2 to 3 weeks. This herbal brew has helped many to rejuvenate their taste buds.

Tongue Infection

  • Rinse the mouth with 20 drops of echinacea tincture or 5 drops of tea tree oil diluted in warm water.
  • To draw toxins from the body, drink 1 teaspoon of healing clay in a glass of water daily for one week.
  • Hydrogen peroxide, 5 to 10 volume. Swish for 30 seconds or longer and remove. Reduces gum inflammation as well and whitens teeth.


A sample of the many homeopathic remedies for tongue disorders is given below. Take one in the 6c-12c strength three times daily for up to fourteen days. For recurring or persistent problems, an experienced homeopath can provide a more in depth treatment to achieve lasting results.

  • Antimonium is recommended for a thick, milky and dirty-looking coating on the tongue, especially in children.
  • Take Bryonia for a thick, white coating. The mouth and tongue are dry and the person is very thirsty.
  • Take Hydrastis for a swollen tongue that feels scalded. Down the center of the tongue is a strip of yellow coating.
  • Natrum mur is useful for geographical tongue that is blistered and burning. The affected areas are white or yellow and the rest of the tongue is red.
  • Use Taraxacum for geographical tongue that peels in the affected patches.

Available Brand Name Products

Herbal Remedies

* Schoenenberger Black Radish Cellular Plant Juice (Flora)

* Swedish Bitters-Extra Strength (Natural Factors)


Copyright © 2020 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.


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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.

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