It seems that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), practitioners can diagnose health issues related to your body temperature, blood circulation and internal organs simply by reading and interpreting the colour of your lips.
It appears that while the eyes may be the windows to the soul, it’s our lips that divulge the truth about the state of our health. So, what does it mean when your lips are a little off-colour?
Let’s Talk a Bit about Qi
Essentially, TCM is based on the concept of ‘qi’ (or life force energy) and the path to a healthy body is by achieving a balance between two opposing life forces: the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’.
On one end is ‘Yin’, a light, cold, calm and nurturing energy. ‘Yang’, on the other end, is dark, warm, active and energising. When the two are in perfect balance, a person is said to be in optimum health on all fronts, whether it is physically, emotionally or mentally.
But when the flow of qi is obstructed, that is when a person may succumb to illnesses. The objective in TCM is to remove these pathogens that obstruct the flow of your life force and to bring your body back into equilibrium. This is achieved through various alternative treatments that include acupuncture, acupressure, cupping therapy and herbal medicine.
Now let’s take a look at what the following lip colours may mean for your health, according to TCM.
Pale and Pallid Lips
When your lips are white and wan, it is a sign that you may be anaemic. Anaemia is a condition related to a low count in red blood cells. Haemoglobin, a compound in red blood cells that gives them their colour, has the job of binding oxygen to our red blood cells, and if you are in short supply of it, your lips are certain to be pale.
When your blood circulation is poor, your body isn’t pumping enough oxygen and nutrients to your cells and muscles, either. That can also have a negative effect on your skin, and on your complexion, in particular. To return colour and radiance to your skin and lips, consume iron-rich foods such as spinach (and other dark green leafy vegetables), beans and lentils, tofu, cashews and whole-grain bread.
When your lips are an unusually bright red, it usually means that your body is excessively ‘heaty’ or overheated. According to TCM, it means your body may be in an inflammatory state and that you may be experiencing some liver dysfunction. This liver ‘heat’ is quite likely to be caused by emotional stress, anxiety and fear. Of course, it could also be the result of an allergic reaction or caused by a diet that is too acidic or rich in spicy food.
Aside from lips that are excessively red, you will probably also be experiencing other symptoms of overheating such as halitosis (or bad breath) as well as dryness in the eyes, mouth and throat. Ironically, you wouldn’t be interested in drinking water. You are, however, likely to have food cravings.
When lips have a purple hue to them and it is a condition that has lingered on for some time, it might be a good idea to get it checked out by a medical professional. Purple lips may indicate an issue with your heart or respiratory system as well as a sign of poor blood circulation.
If you notice a faint green or purple line around your lips, that may imply some problems with the liver and spleen. In TCM, this would be described as an imbalance of ‘qi’ or energy in your body, more likely leaning toward too much ‘yang’. When you are in such a state, it is best to keep away from spicy and acidic foods, and choose foods that are mild and neutral instead.
When your smackers are an aberrant shade of blue, you are probably in serious need of a detox. According to TCM, it is a sign that your digestive system is strained and in a state of distress.
In order to be rid of the nasty toxins in your system that are causing this awful discolouration and return your lips to a nice shade of pink, you will need to get your act together and transition to a healthier diet that consists of more neutral and alkaline foods.
To balance out your digestive pH, cut out acidic foods such as coffee and other caffeinated drinks, sugar and processed foods, and introduce more of these healthy alternatives: avocados, broccoli, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, spinach and lemons.
Here are a couple of definite bonuses to embarking on an alkaline diet: a boost in your energy levels and potential weight loss!
Pink and Rosy
Finally—some pleasant news!
If your lips happen to be a lovely, rosy shade of pink, congratulations! You are, literally and figuratively speaking, in the pink of health. In TCM terms, your ‘qi’ or life force is flowing smoothly and free from any obstruction. In other words, keep doing whatever it is you are doing because whatever your diet and exercise regimen may be, it is working out very well for you.