Geographic Tongue: Alternative Medicine Treatments

| Modified on Jun 06, 2023

Geographic tongue is a disconcerting and often chronic health condition that affects the surface of the tongue and may cause irritation and sensitivity. There is no known cause for the occurence of geographic tongue, but its symptoms include patch-like sections of red on the tongue. These patches may move around the tongue throughout the day.

The patches (or lesions) are areas where the tongue's papillae (it's little pink nodules) become inflamed and flatten out. This does not create or indicate a larger health problem, but the patches can be irritated or even present a burning sensation.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Geographic Tongue will resolve itself in time, so the best treatment is often to focus on avoiding food triggers that will cause the tongue patches to worsen or become uncomfortable. Often, this will include salty, acidic, and spicy foods. Tobacco and alcohol can irritate the papillae, as can certain toothpastes so try an elimination diet to rule out the causes of your discomfort. Also, niacin seems to be a promising alternative health treatment for geographic tongue.

Adrenal Supplement

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Posted by Linaz (Tempe, Az) on 01/26/2013

Geographic tongue may be nothing more than a symptom of adrenal fatigue. I strongly suspect that this is the case because I was plagued with geographic tongue for many years until my chiropractor put me on a bovine adrenal formula for adrenal exhaustion. I've now taken [an adrenal supplement] (3 caps daily) for more than two years, and the only time I've gotten a geographic tongue flare up during this time is when I forget to take it for a couple of days. Within 24 hours of resuming the adrenal formula, my tongue looks and feels normal again. The formula also prevents me from feeling overwhelmed during stressful events (I've struggled with stress my entire life, so either I was either born with weak adrenals, or I've taxed them regularly). After 50 years, I am finally free of this embarassing and painful condition!

Replied by Maria

Hi!! I am maria from Argentina, I would like to know if you are still ok from geographic tongue after taking those pills for adrenal glands!

thank you!

Aloe Vera

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Posted by Hosheeyar (Kathmandu, Nepal) on 07/05/2015

I am suffering from geographic tongue in last year, finally I get some good idea for tongue.

I use regularly Aloe Vera Gel direct put on the tongue in effected area morning and evening after brushing the teeth. After 15 days my tongue is improve 98%.

Apple Cider Vinegar

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Posted by Tim (Cincinnati, Oh) on 06/11/2013

I have had geographic tongue for the last 10 years and I have found 2 things that help. When cooking grains and beans I soak 1 cup of grains (rice, millet, etc. ) in water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for 12-24 hours helps to remove the phytic acid and make it easier to digest, and separately 1 cup of beans (any legume) in water with a teaspoon of baking soda for 12-24 hours before cooking. I ran across this suggestion and thought that I would try it for general health and after 1 week of this I noticed that my tongue was feeling about 20-30% better.

About 1 month later I also started drinking 2 tablespoons of unpasturized apple cider vinegar in 16 oz. Of water throughout the day, again for general health, and found that after 1 month my tongue was about 90-95% better. If you use a weaker solution it might just take longer to see results, but if that is what it takes to make it palitable then go for it. It seems counterintuitive to drink ACV for geographic tongue because the acid makes your tongue burn a little bit, but if you stick with it then you should see an improvement. Other things that help me are cutting out coffee and wine from my diet.

Replied by Randall
(Philomath, Or)

What kind of blood type are you?

Dietary Changes

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Posted by Taroopher (Brazil) on 04/20/2017

Geographic tongue -> multiple remedies

Hello guys, I've reading earthclinic since 2013 trying to find why I have geographic tongue, acne, stomach pain and many other symtoms. I tried to many things that you could not imagine. My house is a lab. I live for it.

I found some kind of cure for my geographic tongue. Its food. There are several foods that triggers geographic tongue. It's through histamine. High histamine foods triggers the condition. This means that almost everything will trigger your geographic tongue.

It's very sad to hear, but I can't have a normal life like everyone else. I can't eat eggs, bread, gym powders, dairy.. It's a long and exausting list.. really.. It doesn't worth mention what I can eat. It's worth saying what I can in fact eat, which is not much.. unfortunally.

Wake up, eat some cooked potato. For lunch-> Rice, veggies (kale, lettuce, etc), legumes (like zucchini, pod, carrots, etc), chicken, meat. That is it. Your entire diet should be this. I can also drink carrot juice, but that is it!

If you try to eat anything out of this diet, I suffer, that is all. I'm so sorry about it, but I'm trying for 4 years now and this in the only thing that kind of works.

It's not solving the problem though, just avoiding symptoms.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Bama Lori (Birmingham, Alabama) on 05/17/2012

Careful, your doctors will be more than happy to symptom treat you to DEATH; my geo tongue was caused by GERD and antacids; that was caused by antidepressants;

I suffered like you for 12 freaking years, told me all my head too! I developed many endocrine diseases, I could not work, I LOST everything!

Seriously now, investigate FRUCTOSE MALABSORBTION; Chronic Malabsorbtion, Celiac Disease; and lactose intol;

Food intol is the last thing they will mention if ever, well they wont mention it, because they cant profit from it! Go LOW FODMAP FOODS; this is a sugar malabsorbtion isssue, medications will cause even more symptoms, especially anti depressants... OMG.. The worst!

Wean yourself off slowly, very slowly, but do it (ask the doc how for safety and do NOT agree to changing your meds, this road ends in insanity and psychosis;

For the mouth; stop anti acids, or reflux pills, and go get some Dan Active Immunity Probiotic; drink two 4 oz little bottles a day; this will be cleared up in a few days to a week... No doc could or would help me with this, and hairy/ geographic tongue is HORRIBLE!

Let me know how it goes; Wiki Fructose Malabsorbtion, Shephard Works has many guides. Hre is the basic guide I follow, avoid foods with higher fructose to glucose ratio; white sugar is fine, some fruits and veggies are not;

Go to for a list of unsafe gluten containing foods; wheat is a high sugar, this is a sugar malabsorbtion issue, I would bet my last dollar on it!

MIne started same age as yours, first they took my ovaries, then my part of the thyoid, parathyroids, basket loads of meds, spinal blocks, knee blocks, IBS, insomnia, fibromayalgia, chronic fatigue, migranes... And meds all made me sicker, one pill prescribed would always result in many others to treat the side effects of the first, it is all poision for me... Consider it food allergy!

Avoidance of your triggers is the ONLY CURE... Been there done all that... Hope you can find your intols!

Sincerely, Lori

Manuka Honey

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Posted by Trista (Sydney, Australia ) on 06/06/2023

Manuka Honey for Geographic Tongue

I haven't had geographic tongue myself.. but I had found a review on manuka honey getting rid of it.

I suggested it to a girl with geographic tongue and she ended up using 80+ mgo manuka honey, a spoon a day.. which got rid of it.

However, she started forgetting to have the honey and it came back. So if anyone tries and sees results, you may need to keep having the honey for a while before tapering off..

On another note, some believe geographic tongue could be caused by being around mould.

Whether it's a water damaged building or mould coming out of air conditioning units.. some might be living with it or working in it..

There's a study showing normal honey *quote* can inhibit the harmful and genotoxic effects of mycotoxins and improve the gut microflora.

So normal honey may help as well.


Posted by Rich (Boca Raton, Fl) on 11/24/2008

Solved. This "Autoimmune Disease" is caused by the Demodectic mite, and is analogous to Demodectic Mange in dogs, and is potentially life threatening.

This mite causes a "Staph Infection" in your cheeks. This leads to acidic saliva. This leads to a "Geographic Tongue". The Geographic tongue is an algae or fungus, which spreads to your cheek lining, weakening the cheak lining, and allowing mouth bacteria to infect your cheeks. This in turn makes the problem worse, causing a form of Gum Disease of the cheeks, allowing the staph infection to spread to the rest of your body.

BTW, staph bacteria loves fish oil, so no fish oil while treating this.
Treatment: #1 the common treatment for Scurvy, or the Mouth wound that doesn't heal is "1000 mg of Vitamin C per day." This will raise the ph of your saliva, kill the staph bacteria, and cure the "geographic tongue".

#2 to prevent this from coming back, you need an insecticide that kills mites. I added borax to my shampoo. My face lit up like a christmas tree. Perhaps you can use a lice shampoo or an "enzymic mite killer", as well. Or ask your doctor.

If following the borax method, a boron supplement might be a good idea. Also you can buy hand soap with borax.
It turns out that while going on my diet, I stopped drinking OJ to cut calories. This made the problem worse. And then when I went on an anti-candida diet, trying to reduce sugar by reducing juices to try and fix the "geographic tongue"... it made it even worse.


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Posted by Mama T (Sparks, Nv) on 05/28/2012

For years I have suffered from geographic tongue and sores on my tongue. Reactions to foods, white coating, sores that look like ringworm, cracks, and sometimes bleeding. Several years ago I started taking slow release niacin that is encapsulated in parafin so it won't cause the hot flashes. My husband takes it to lower his cholesterol, one before every meal. I started taking one 250mg per night as a B12 supplement. After a few weeks I noticed that my tongue was not hurting anymore! It was a healthy color and no cracks. There have been a few times when I have gone without taking it for a few days and my old symptoms return quickly. It is especially noticable if I am traveling and don't bring along my supplements and I eat out and my tongue will flare up at the restaurant making it very uncomfortable to even eat and the symtoms will last all night and cracks start to appear. I am thankful that I realized what the solution was so I can share it with you!

Posted by Mama T (Sparks, Nv) on 09/11/2011

I started taking super slow release Niacin because it worked so well to lower my husband's cholesterol. The thing I noticed over anything at all is that my geographic tongue, sore tongue, sensitive to food tongue is under control. I have suffered with tongue issues for over 30 years and the symptoms are gone! I had been to Drs who said there was no cure. I take one 400mg at bed time. When I stop taking it the tongue symptoms reappear. I am so thankful for this remedy and also for Earth Clinic.

Posted by John (Jacksonville, NC) on 09/21/2010

After taking 50mg of niacin several times a day, my mouth-focused candida is much better.

I make sure to keep it below 1000 mg/day. Undecylenic acid was recommended along with niacin, but I cannot find it at the stores. My mouth had geographic tongue, and sores all everywhere and especially after eating certain sugary foods things got tender, but now that I'm eating these niacinamide supplements, I can eat whatever I want again, and the big sores are gone and my tongue is back to normal. If I feel it starting to flare up, I chew up a pill and rub the niacinamide all over my tongue and lips and I can feel the fungus dying, and everything returning to normal. After months of suffering, I'm so glad to have it so much better, not perfect, but I just started 2 days ago, so what can we expect.