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My 1 1/2 year-old's tongue: rough surface, reddish body with areas of thick white coating


Submitted By: friendphil

Our 1 1/2 year old has a history of pneumonia (hospitalized for three months ending 7 months ago) and since then, frequent problems with bronchitis, various degrees of phlegm, drooling, occassional vomiting. She has been making inroads on the latest episode of bronchitis using an herbal formula, bt a recent fever and some abdominal distress has come along. She has a large, distended abdomen from birth, and after drinking I can usually hear the liquid in her abdomen. Her diet lately has been milk formula frequently, with a morning and afternoon meal of jook, perhaps some fruit or fruit juice around noon.
Our access to herbs is limited, so we took her to a to a regular doc and got antibiotics and some cold medication. After a week, the fever is no longer a problem but she has had excessive saliva and her tongue has a lot of raised papillae, (reddish color), and there are some white splotches on the tongue as well. It looks like it should be painful, but she can still drink milk and eat food (we make jook for her, rice, a few veggies and chicken or fish, then blend it so it doesn't need much chewing, though she does work at chewing things.) Today, the tongue looks a lot worse than yesterday, when I began writing this. The white areas are thicker, and perhaps the red papillae are less—harder to see them because of all the white areas.

A little more of the broader picture: She has had trouble sleeping frequently, sometimes waking for a couple hours, once or twice a night. She sometimes grinds her teeth, I often notice this in the evening around bedtime.

Any ideas for a) herbal formulas, b) individual herbs to work with and c) foods that might be therapeutic at this time. Perhps I can get a photo taken this evening.

I'll mention our location, which is in Thailand, where even now as we enter the cool season, the weather is challenging. It is still quite hot most afternoons, and now the evenings are getting more cool than before. Thailand's weather is often very challenging, and I hear many people coughing-- perhaps it's also the air in this moderately large city.

Here is a link to several photos taken this evening: (please let me know if that doesn't work)

a note re: the photos: When this tongue problem was becoming more significant two days ago, Patty was given a purple liquid by her mom (she swabbed her mouth with it), who thought it was a medication for mouth sores. The doctor we saw yesterday told us it's actually a fungal medication.... so anyway that left a stain on Patty's upper lip, and we are not now using that purple liquid-- hope her mom really understood, it's not for oral sores.


Here is the formula that she's been getting over the last several weeks, in its most recent modification: (numbers are grams)

Mai dong 6, 麦冬 sangbaipi 6, 桑白皮 bai qiang 6, 白前

bai bu 6, 百部 ziwan 6, 紫苑 huai san 9, 槐花

zhi qiao 6, 枳壳 jie geng 6, 桔梗 chenpi 3, 陈皮

bansha 6, 法半夏 di gu pi 6, 地骨皮 mu xiang 6 gm `, 云木香


thanks for any helpful suggestions!



From the pictures it looks like your child has thrush which can come about from a variety of causes including breast feeding when there is a yeast infection on the mother. More likely if your child was administered antibiotics in the hospital and it can arise from that as well. In some cases a western round of anti-fungal drops, such as Nystatin, can clear it up. Generally afterwards with the use of probiotics to regulate the digestive balance it should stay away.

The purple liquid that was given to you was more than likely an anti-fungal as you have found out and that would be an appropriate course of action if it is thrush. So I would continue the treatment offered to you and then later you could consider other options to maintain health from a tcm perspective.

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