What Your Lips Are Telling You According To Eastern Medicine

What Your Lips Are Telling You According To Eastern Medicine
November 2, 2021 Jackie Gomez


According to Eastern Medicine


What your lips say about your health in eastern medicine

They say eyes are windows to the soul, but your lips just may be windows to your health.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lips can tell you a lot about a person. The color, texture, and condition of your lips can reveal illnesses and imbalances in your body that might be tough to detect another way. 

That’s why, when you go to a TCM practitioner, the visual exam is so important. The practitioner will check out your nails, tongue, and lips to get clues about what’s going on with your body. 

According to TCM, these external pieces of your body are linked to different organs. Your lips, for example, are thought to be connected to your Spleen. The Spleen is one of the most important organs in TCM because it’s in charge of major processes like extracting Qi energy from food and then pushing it throughout our body. Since Qi is like our life force, you can see why the Spleen is so important–and why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your lips.

Here’s what your lips are saying about you, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Decoding Your Lips With TCM

Pale Pink or Red Lips

What your lips say about your health in eastern medicineIf your lips are pale pink or red, without any cracks or cold sores, that’s a good sign. It means you’re healthy and your Spleen is strong.

And western medicine would have to agree. Faded or darkened lips can be signs of liver disease or a nasty nicotine habit. Lips that are close to your skin tone are signs of health and wellness, in the east or west.

Super Pale Lips:

Having pale pinkish lips may be a sign of good health, but when your lips get too pale it can be a cause for concern. According to TCM, if your lips are significantly lighter than your skin tone, you might have poor circulation, too much coldness, or a Qi deficiency. Your TCM practitioner will probably ask you questions about your energy level and digestion so they can get a better idea of what’s throwing you off balance.

Purple Lips

If your lips look bluish purple, there’s a good chance that your practitioner will diagnose you with blood stasis and/or deficiency. Blood stasis means your blood isn’t flowing throughout the body as quickly as easily as it should. It can be caused by a lot of things, including not exercising enough, a localized injury, or even emotional stress.

Bluish purple lips can also be a sign of excess coldness in the body. In TCM, balance is the key to good health, so having too much heat or cold in your body can cause problems. Reddish purple tends to indicate heat so it may garner you recommendations for cucumbers, okra and watermelon. If bluish purple, your TCM practitioner will probably have you add more warming foods to your daily diet, like:

  • Dry ginger,
  • Onions,
  • Garlic,
  • Cinnamon, and
  • Cayenne.

This should help add some heat back into your body and balance things out.

Very Red Lips

Rocking a bold red lip without a single swipe of lipstick? That’s a sign of too much heat in your body, according to TCM. Usually, red lips mean heat is trapped in your Stomach or Spleen. Your spleen might be working overtime pumping Qi and blood through your body too fast. If you’ve noticed that you’re more prone to emotional outbursts or mood swings, then heat is probably the culprit.

To balance out that heat, you need to chill out! That means adding cooling foods into your everyday diet and making sure you stay hydrated. Stock up on cold foods like:

  • Celery,
  • Cucumber, 
  • Mushrooms,
  • Bananas,
  • Tofu, 
  • Yogurt, 
  • Mint, and
  • Cilantro.

Try one of these delish cooling summer soups, and make sure to drink plenty of water and green tea to stay hydrated. And avoid hot weather–until your lips go back to normal, the AC is your best friend.

Dry, Cracked Lips

What your lips say about your health in eastern medicineAre you the type of person who has a million different tubes of chapstick hidden around your house and car so you can always soothe your chapped, cracked lips? Then you probably have the same problem people with red lips have–too much heat. If you have other symptoms like dry hands, rough feet, and an itchy nose, excess heat is definitely the culprit according to TCM.

But if your lips are pale and cracked, hydration is most likely the problem, not heat. Luckily, the remedy for too much heat and not enough hydration is pretty much the same–you load up on yin-rich cooling foods and lots of hydrating beverages. That means loading up on soups and water-filled fruits and veggies like watermelon and cucumber. It’s also a good idea to reach for foods with healthy fats, like avocado, walnuts, and chia seed.

Cold Sores

Do you ever get red, irritated bumps around your lips that eventually turn into scabs? Those are cold sores, often caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). In TCM, cold sores are understood as the result of too much damp heat in the body. This heat is usually centered in the Liver and Gallbladder, so any treatment prescribed by your TCM practitioner will probably focus on those organs. 

The annoying thing about cold sores, however, is that they just keep coming back. That’s why prevention and maintenance is so important when it comes to these pesky little suckers. And TCM is all about preventative care

When it comes to cold sores and damp heat, keeping a lid on fiery emotions like anger is the key to controlling and limiting outbreaks. In TCM theory, both the Liver and Gallbladder are connected to the emotion of anger. If we don’t keep our emotions balanced and anger starts to take over, these organs respond by making lots of damp heat. And eventually, that energy will show itself as cold sores on your lips. Remember, in TCM, the mind and body are always connected.

Read my lips: your kisser is a major diagnostic tool in TCM. So if you notice a change in them, it might be time to visit the TCM doctor. Hopefully this quick guide will help you figure out what exactly your lips are telling you!

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