The aim of this report is to establish a tongue inspection method based on OCT imaging for quantifying the tongue
properties in traditional Chinese medical diagnosis. The measurement was performed in the model of rats suffering with
Spleen-Stomach Dampness-Heat Syndrome using OCT equipment, OCT image and histology estimates of the glossal
layer of microstructure were obtained, and the accurate thickness and moisture degree of the tongue coating were
analyzed. These OCT image showed that tongue every layer matched the histology estimates of the glossal
microstructure, and compared with normal control group the thickness of tongue coating increased in rats suffering with
Spleen-Stomach Dampness-Heat Syndrome than normal control rats (<i>P</i><0.01), yet the moisture degree of tongue body of
model group decreased (<i>P</i><0.01). Therefore, OCT image technique may be benefit and helpful as a tool to provide an
objective diagnostic standard for study on tongue inspection in the clinical practice and research of TCM.
Tongue inspection (TI) is an important and unique diagnostic method in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), because significant connections between various viscerae diseases and abnormalities in the tongue have been verified. In TCM, TI is simple and non invasive, but in clinical applications, TI is subjectively based on the experience and technique of physicians. To avoid this problem, optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging is introduced here for TI. We study OCT imaging in rats in vivo from chronic gastritis group (model) and normal group (control) and quantitatively analyze the relative parameters, such as the thickness and the moisture degree of TI. Our results show that OCT images properly demonstrate the thickness of the tongue coating and the moisture degree of the tongue in both groups, and the thickness is increased in the model group from that in the normal group, while the moisture degree decreases. As a result, OCT technology has the potential to provide physicians with an objective diagnostic standard for visual TI in TCM clinical practice and research.