What’s in a fingernail?

The common fingernail can reveal a lot of information about the health of your internal organs and especially about the health of your blood and fluids. If your nails are pale, Oriental medicine sees this as a sign of deficiency in blood quality, in Western medicine this is linked to a lack of iron and/or folic acid.  Blood issues also show up numerous other signs and symptoms on the body such as dry skin and brittle hair.  It is very important to keep your blood healthy, especially for women. Blood is nourished by many foods, but eating more of your green veggies is best!
If your nails are dry and  ridged, from the cuticle towards the tip (vertical ridges), then your fluids are possibly a little low, this also happens more with age. Make sure you hydrate enough during the day and eat foods that nourish your yin such as grains or eggs to name a few, just water alone won’t do it.

This is also true for nails that are dry or brittle. In Oriental medicine the growth and health of nails may also have to with the health of the kidneys. Horizontal grooves that run from side to side may indicate more serious conditions such a thyroid issues, circulatory issues or even diabetes.

Fingernails are indeed a very helpful tool in determining what is going on internally to the body, but keep in mind that it is only one sign and that a diagnosis or conclusions should never be drawn from just a single source. For more information contact Kurt at kurtjurek@acufeelgood.ca or call 604-365-3655

Kurt Jurek is a practitioner of Oriental Medicine in private practice in Vancouver, Canada


4 Responses to “What’s in a fingernail?”

  1. Ann says:

    Great article. Is a concave nail a known indicator of a health issue?

    • kurt says:

      If by concave you mean higher edges and depressed centre like a spoon, it may possibly be an issue; if it is not from trauma or heavy use of chemicals then it may also be a sign of blood deficiency (iron deficiency in western med) but only if the nail is also quite pale. This also happens to infants sometimes and disappears after a few years.

  2. Mary says:

    What is the difference between iron deficiency anemia in Western Medicine and blood deficiency in Oriental medicine?

    • kurt says:

      Western medicine recognizes various types of anemia besides iron deficiency, but that’s the one that’s most talked about. Oriental Medicine talks about “blood deficiency” in terns of blood quality and quantity and these are differentiated by various signs and symptoms. Iron deficiency would be considered a quality deficiency.
      Oriental medicine takes a broader and more generalized approach, hence it is unlikely to identify a specific chemical deficiency, but in most cases can still treat it using proven therapeutic methods. This broad net approach is its strength as it doesn’t need extensive blood testing, with the possibility of still not finding the problem. But like anything, it’s not perfect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *