What Your Fingernails are Trying to Tell You About Your Health
Our bodies are incredible creations that are constantly speaking to us, giving us clues that allude to our internal health. According to a venerated Chinese medical text, “If something happens in the interior of the body, it must be reflected in the exterior of the body.” Traditional Chinese Medicine can tell you a lot about your organs/meridians by looking at your tongue, which you can learn all about here. Ayurvedic Medicine on the other hand, is very well known for nail assessments (although TCM is well-versed here, too!) Areas of imbalance that Ayurveda looks for in the nails include bone health, malabsorption, lung/heart issues, inflammation, parasites, digestive issues, nutrient deficiencies and more.
In Ayurveda, it is said that the lunula (moon) of the nail represents one’s “agni,” or ‘fire’ in the body. If you look at your nails and notice there are no moons or extremely small moons, this is a sign that there is weak digestion/fire/circulation in the system.
Weak digestive fire is also an indication of poor metabolism and can lead to a potential build up of toxins in the system, called “ama.” This buildup, which often centers in the lower bowel and colon is a common root cause for many disorders and should be the first thing you look at when treating the body as a whole. If you haven’t already, check out my article on how to clean/strengthen the bowels and digestion!
On the other hand, if you have nice large moons on your thumb to pinky, this represents a strong, healthy fire that is capable of breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from food. Chinese Medicine believes that clearly defined lunulas should take up around one-fifth of each nail for the best sign of health, although they feel that the pinky lunula is not as important as the others and can be absent. TCM agrees with Ayurveda otherwise, teaching that people with small/absent lunulas are often bothered by “pathogenic cold” (yang deficiency) and weak immunity. It is crucial that you drink ginger tea in the mornings, especially if you have a symptoms of yang deficiency which can include menstrual cramps, aversion to cold, lack of circulation, poor appetite, fatigue, achy joints, cold hands and feet, poor digestion, depression, etc.
There are several other abnormalities that may show up in your nails, which can be found in the following chart. I’ll elaborate on each individually below:
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