Typically, a textbook of TCM diagnostics consists of two aspects: first, learning how to look for indications of a patient, including clinical signs, symptoms, and diseases; second, learning the syndromes to account for the indications. In clinic, a doctor diagnoses a patient to collect indications from the patient by observations, questioning, etc such as diarrhea, cough, pale complexion, red tongue, and so on. Each indication may be attributed to a number of syndromes in the vast majority of cases. On the other hand, each syndrome may contain a number of indication also. The traditional methods of diagnosis include: (1) diagnosis by observations; (2) diagnosis by auscultation (hearing) and olfaction (sense of smell); (3) diagnosis by interrogating the patients; (4) diagnosis by taking the pulse and palpation. Generally speaking, diagnosis by observations is to identify change that occurs on body surface of the patient by observations, including tongue diagnosis. Tooth marks on the tongue may be attributed to spleen energy deficiency, damp sputum obstructing middle burning space, both energy and yin in deficiency. Tongue without coating points to deficiency, internal dryness, cold, energy deficiency, heat at the nutritive level.
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