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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1279052, 9 pages
Research Article

Comparative Analysis of Tongue Indices between Patients with and without a Self-Reported Yin Deficiency: A Cross-Sectional Study

1Department of Biofunctional Medicine and Diagnosis, College of Korean Medicine, Sangji University, Wonju 26382, Republic of Korea
2Department of Neuropsychiatry, College of Korean Medicine, Sangji University, Wonju 26382, Republic of Korea
3Department of Statistics, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul 04310, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Dong-Hyun Nam

Received 2 January 2017; Accepted 19 April 2017; Published 17 May 2017

Academic Editor: Seong S. Nah

Copyright © 2017 Su-Ryun Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated the hypothesis that Yin-deficient patients have a reddened tongue with less coating. We screened 189 participants aged 20 to 49 years, complaining of headache. To classify patients in terms of Yin deficiency, we used two self-reporting Yin-deficiency questionnaires (Yin-Deficiency Questionnaire and Yin-Deficiency Scale) and diagnosis by a doctor. Based on the tests, a total of 33 subjects were assigned to a Yin-deficient group and 33 subjects were assigned to a nondeficient control group. Tongue images were acquired using a computerized tongue diagnostic system, for evaluating tongue indices. The tongue coating percentage and tongue redness were calculated as the mean value of both the whole tongue area (WT ) and the tongue body area (TB ). The tongue coating percentage of the Yin-deficient group (34.79 ± 10.76) was lower than that of the nondeficient group (44.13 ± 14.08). The WT value of the Yin-deficient group (19.39 ± 1.52) was significantly higher than that of the nondeficient group (18.21 ± 2.06). However, the difference in the TB value between the two groups was not significant. In conclusion, we verified that Yin-deficient patients had less tongue coating and tended to have a more reddish tongue than nondeficient patients.