Rohini, a television anchor and a news reader by profession, visited my clinic with a very strange complaint, she had never even heard about before. For the last few months, she was observing patchy white areas of yellowish white coat on her tongue. She first ignored it thinking it just due to the disturbed gastric schedule, but within a couple of months, she started getting burning or soreness in the tongue area on eating any citrus fruits like oranges or lemon. These areas were getting resolved spontaneously, but a new patch used to appear on the other region of the tongue, thus not letting the lesions resolve completely.
She had been to her local physician for the same problem, who first prescribed her a local mouth wash, but instead of relieving the complaints, it aggravated the irritation further. She was then treated with antihistamines and topical steroids, without any significant improvement in the lesions. She was, thus, asked to continue a dose of multi-vitamin tablet, especially of b-complex vitamins. Apart from the soreness, the major concern for Rohini was the dirty appearance of the tongue, which was prominently hampering her screen-image. She was once asked by the cameraman not to laugh with mouth wide open, since it made the appearance of the tongue much obvious. One of her friends then suggested her to take a homeopathic treatment and that is how she came to me. Rohini suffered with what is called ‘Benign migratory glossitis’ or ‘Geographic tongue’.
As the name suggests, the condition is benign [possessing very less morbidity and no mortality] affecting almost 4% of the human population across the world. It is mostly asymptomatic but patients can experience burning, irritation or soreness that gets aggravated by certain food items and astringent flavored items. Many patients also get swelling of the tongue along with the appearance of deep fissures on the tongue surface.
It is believed that it is more common in patients suffering with psoriasis, but it is insignificant to link the two ailments, since geographic tongue is seen commonly in non-psoriatic patients as well. It is also linked with hormonal changes within the body, diabetes, smoking and spicy diet. It can be seen running in the family, but it is attributed more to the diet pattern than the genetic predominance. Females are seen getting affected more than males.
Ideally there is no particular treatment for this ailment. Mostly the lesions can resolve without any treatment, giving undue credit to the multi-vitamin or local steroidal preparations prescribed empirically.
Using the homeopathic approach towards this ailment, geographic tongue belongs to that of a constitutional disorder. Rohini was interviewed in detail for the constitutional assessment and was prescribed Natrum mur, which not only resolved her tongue patches but also relieved her recurrent migraine attacks.
Other significant remedies that can be useful are – Nitric acid, Rhus tox, Taraxicum, Arsenic, Kali bich and Mercurius.