Your acupuncturist may detect inflammation or precursors to inflammation in the tongue and pulse diagnosis. Inflammation is most apparent and pronounced with “heat” signs.  (A red tongue body, a yellow tongue coating, “rolling” rapid pulse, etc.) “Dampness” is another pathogen that involves inflammation directly or the precursor to inflammation. Signs of dampness include: teethmarks, “soggy pulse” weight gain, some cases of foggy thinking, aching joints, etc. There are other pathogens as well. I always make the disclaimer that: ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine would be found limited in its understanding to try to translate it in terms of our conventional medicine.”

Since Americans were brought up in the world of conventional medicine, this article is written in a language that can be understood and utilized in your daily living.

Inflammation can be valuable to us when our body becomes injured or invaded.  White blood cells collect in a damaged area securing it off from the rest of your system and clean out the threat and the damaged tissue. It is meant to be a system of protect, clean up, and repair.

Many times though the well intentioned inflammatory train goes off track. This is where too much of a good thing does considerable damage. The origin is likely too many inflammatory foods in our systems.

Diseases that refer directly to inflammation are given a name ending in the suffix “itis”. For example: bursitis, cystitis, dermatitis, phlebitis, hepatitis, tendonitis, appendicitis, etc. But it’s the source of so much more!

Inflammation is now understood to be the cornerstone of premature aging and not just autoimmune illness, but doctors now think perhaps the source of other illnesses like: Alzheimer’s, depression, epilepsy, asthma, stomach ulcers, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diseases of inflamed intestines, heart attack, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, gall bladder disease, eczema, kidney failure, scleroderma, stroke, chronic sinusitis, and more.

Science tells us…

Inflammatory agents reside in our blood and lymphatic system, many are manufactured in the liver. A high fasting insulin level indicates insulin resistant diabetic stress which coincides with high blood sugar. High blood sugar feeds inflammation and reduces the body’s immune system to work as it should.

Signs of inflammation:





Autoimmune issues


The origin of inflammation begins by:

Introduction of bacteria or virus or other invader into the system



Genetic disposition to certain disease

The abundance and duration of the inflammatory response increases with:

Carbohydrates and sugars in the diet

Eating foods that your body has developed an intolerance to

The inability to distinguish self cells from non-self cells (“auto-immunity”)

Ways that you can curb the inflammatory response in your system:

Reduce your caloric intake long term by up to 40%

Cut out carbohydrates and sugars

Significant exercise: cleansing the blood of inflammatory agents

Drink plenty of water to aid filtration of inflammatory agents

Eat organic

Consume fermented foods and probiotics daily

Healthy Eating:

A variety of foods

Fresh foods

Lots of fruits and vegetables

Omega 3 fatty acid containing foods

Key known anti-inflammatory foods:

foods like: wild Alaskan salmon, kelp, extra virgin olive oil, cruciferous vegetables, blueberries, turmeric or other curcumin containing foods, ginger, garlic, green tea, and sweet potato.


  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Here’s another example where Traditional Chinese Medicine and Conventional knowledge do not meet. (TCM is a lot more particular and individualistic.) If you have “heat” signs in TCM, garlic and ginger are inappropriate for your wellness because they also have heat properties in their quality of dietary therapy. Rather, in this circumstance, you should adhere to cooling dietary therapies.

Ahh… how indispensible your acupuncturist is 😉 I will gladly warn you against these when taking your tongue and pulse.

Thanks for reading! Hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about how to think about your health.  To share your experience, please email me at:

-Kristin Gundrum L.Ac.

Tiny Needle Community Acupuncture                   Blooming Lotus Acupuncture       

Cincinnati, Ohio


Aguirre, Lauren “An Inflammatory Theory of Brain Disease.” Nova Next Storyline: Mind Over Matter, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.

Frey, Rea “Best and Worst: Top 10 Most Inflammatory and Anti-Inflammatory Foods!” Clean Convenient Cuisine. Chicago Now. 18 Sep. 2010 Web. 26 July 2015.

Marquis, David M. “How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health.” Mercola: Revolutionizing Health Through Your Support., 7 March 2013. Web. 26 July 2015.

Saul PhD., Andrew “D,L-Phenylalanine and Vitamin C: Two Drug=Free Approaches to Chronic Pain.” DoctorYourself.Com.. Andrew Saul,2007. Web. 26 July 2015

Unknown Author. “Caloric Restriction.” Life Extension., n.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2015

Weil M.D., Andrew “Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet.” Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging., n.p., n.d., Web. 26 July 2015.