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Benign Migratory Glossitis (Geographic Tongue)- Ayurvedic Treatment, Diet, Exercises, Research Papers, Yoga & Pranayama

The name Benign migratory glossitis is not much familiar as geographic tongue. Does the term remind you of the world map? Yes, you guessed it right. Geographic tongue is a term coined because of its resemblance to a world map or pattern like that in clinical presentation. As you have already guessed, the pattern appears on the tongue. It looks like red patches with irregular white margins defining a smooth reddish area inside. The red areas show that they are devoid of very small round structures called papillae that is found naturally on the tongue surface.

This condition is not contagious. It is not microbial or does not contract from person to person or to other parts of the body. It is usually benign in nature.  It is usually harmless other than the appearance. But in some people, it causes burning sensation or stinging sensation in the area which gets triggered by some specific food items. Pain killers are found beneficial to reduce the discomfort.

The characteristic features of Benign migratory glossitis include:

  • Red spots or patches on the tongue – they appear as an irregular map like pattern that is defined by grey or white borders. They are mostly many in number or spread on a large area. It can happen on any part of the tongue including top, sides or bottom. The patches can be shifting in nature as they can be seen here one day and there after some days. The spots or patches may appear and disappear in some days. They can change size, site ad shape at any time.
  • Absence of papillae – The inner part of these patches is considerably red and abnormally smooth because they don’t have the normal papillae on the surface. Papillae being very small bumps that completely cover and protect the entire tongue, help us chew and swallow the food. Some of the papillae have taste buds in them helping us differentiate and feel the various tastes.
  • Burning sensation – Some patients complain about a tingling, pricking or burning pain on their tongue mostly during eating food. It is mild in most cases and not continuous. The discomfort appears and disappears along with the shape shifting red patches.
  • Patches in other areas of the mouth – Very rarely, similar reddish skin patches are observed on other parts of the mouth like the gums, the palate or the cheeks. They are known as geographic stomatitis or erythema migrans. These patches of erythema migrans are very different from those that are observed in the first stages of Lyme’s disease. This is a different disease and should not be diagnosed as Lyme’s disease.



Causes of Benign migratory glossitis



Underlying conditions or diseases are observed mostly with geographic tongue. They include:


  • Psoriasis – In most cases of geographic tongue, the patient is presented with associated with psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition.
  • Hormonal surges – Women who are taking oral contraceptives or birth control pills are observed developing geographic tongue. It may be because of the female hormones in the pills.
  • Deficiencies – Not having enough zinc, iron, folic acid, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 are more prone to geographic tongue.
  • Fissured tongue – a genetic link between geographic tongue and fissured tongue is hypothesised, the latter being a condition with deep grooves on the tongue.
  • Diabetes – especially type 1 diabetes, have a higher chance of geographic tongue.
  • Allergies – People with eczema, hay fever and other allergies may be presented with a higher chance of having the condition.
  • Emotional stress – there is a link between increased stress and geographic tongue.





Treatment of Benign migratory glossitis

Usually, any medicine or treatment is not required for geographic tongue.

If there is burning sensation or similar discomfort, the following measures are suggested:

  • Mouthwash with an anti-histamine
  • Topical application of analgesics
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID s




Complications of medicine & treatment

Medicines and treatment used in severe cases of geographic tongue may cause discomforts like:

  • gastric irritation
  • Stomach pain
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Headaches
  • Light headedness.
  • High blood pressure or hypertension.


Preventive measures of Benign migratory glossitis

Avoid any food items or drinks that causing irritation of the tongue.

Hot and spicy foods must be avoided.

Quit tobacco chewing



Ayurvedic Concept of Benign migratory glossitis

Ayurveda explains Jihwaroga or diseases of the tongue comes under Mukharoga or diseases of the mouth. Ayurveda explains head as Uttamanga or most important part of the body as it is the seat of all the sense organs other than skin. Diseases of each part of the head are narrated in very detail in Susrutasamhita Uttaratantra. The branches of Ayurveda dealing with diseases of the head include Salakya tantra (diseases above neck). Diseases of tongue are classified according to doshic predominance, like most of other diseases. The identification is done based on the clinical presentation. Benign migratory glossitis can be compared to Paittika jihwa roga. It is explained as red tongue with burning sensation.

Ayurvedic Nidana of Benign migratory glossitis

              Causative factors that cause aggression of Pitta like :

hot, spicy food

Late night sleep


Exposure to heat & Sun

Ayurvedic treatment for Benign migratory glossitis

                             Management of Paittika jihwa roga aong with necessary internal medicines to manage any associated gastric complaints is found most beneficial in the management of Benign migratory glossitis. The therapies to be done on the tongue include :

Gharshana or Tongue scraping

Raktasruti or Bloodletting

Pratisarana or sprinkling of herbal powders

Gandoosha or gargling with medicated liquids

Navana or nasal drops

For the last three procedures drugs with sweet taste are prescribed. Eg: Yashtimadhu



Herbal Preparations for Benign migratory glossitis

              Drakshadi kashaym

              Guduchyadi kashayam

              Rajanyadi choornam

              Avipathy choornam

              Punarnavadi kashayam


              Sariba kwatham

              Yashtimadhu choornam

Dusparsakadi Kashayam


Side effect management of Benign migratory glossitis by Ayurveda

                            Many medicines taken for chronic diseases may cause gastric irritation including glossitis. In cases of Benign migratory glossitis associated with gastric or systemic compalints, many medicines given for symptomatic relief may cause giddiness, nausea or further mucosal erosion. Ayurvedic medicines like drakshadi kashayam can be used to manage

The Food and Drug Administration, United States has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.

Please consult Dr. Rajesh Nair here-



Dr. Rajesh Nair
Ayurveda Medicine, India

Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.

Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.

Through Ayurvedaforall, Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the Secretary of the Kerala State Committee of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.

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Dr. Rajesh Nair
Licensed Ayurvedic doctor focused on providing individual Ayurvedic consultation services. Specialized in work related stress, Womens’ issues, diabetes, Pecos, arthritis, male and female sexual problems and infertility. Interested in academic work as well. Now working with as senior consultant, Ayurveda.

Dr. Rajesh Nair

Licensed Ayurvedic doctor focused on providing individual Ayurvedic consultation services. Specialized in work related stress, Womens’ issues, diabetes, Pecos, arthritis, male and female sexual problems and infertility. Interested in academic work as well. Now working with as senior consultant, Ayurveda.

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