Diagnosis in Ayurveda – 5 Nail Diagnosis

In Ayurveda there are many physical tools that are commonly used. Nail diagnosis or Nakha Parikshan is also one of them.  Nails are strong indicators of telling one’s internal health.  In Ayurveda nails are considered waste product or by product of bones (asthi dhatu). Therefore, the health of the bones can be judged with the health of the nails.

In Ayurveda every ailment is due to some imbalance in doshas.  Our nails also indicate some imbalance in dosha, which is predominant in our constitution. Any signs of abnormality tell us the imbalance in any of the doshas.

Disorders in the Nails

Longitudinal Lines on the Nails
These lines indicate malabsorption in the digestive system.  These lines cover the entire nail. The deeper the lines,  the more deficiency in absorption is.  Therefore it is important to know the cause and remove it.  These lines might be the cause of a long-standing illness.  Malabsorption can be due to excessive toxins, vata disorder (Vishama Agni), kapha digestive disorder (Manda Agni), pitta digestive disorder (Tikshna disorder) or a poor diet.


Horizontal Lines of Transverse Groove
A deep horizontal line that runs across the nail indicates strong illness or infection that occurred during the time that specific part of the nail was growing. In case there are many lines on the nail, this is the indication of continuous issue and most likely it indicates some chronic disease.

Absence of Moons (Lunula)
The moons on the nail represent  agni or fire in the body. If there are very small moons or no moons at the nails it indicates the weak digestive system. It is an indication of poor metabolism and also a potential buildup of toxins in the system. It is a very common disease and should be treated immediately. 

Large Moons (Lunula)
Large moons on the thumb to the pinky finger represent strong healthy fire in the system. But in case it is larger than the normal, this is the indication of an overactive fire in the body. It can lead to imbalance in Pitta.

Red, Puffy Nail Fold
If the skin that borders the nail is typically red and puffy, it is a sign of parasites or infections. There could be many causes of parasites in many individuals. Most common cause is drinking impure water and not washing hands after elimination. Through proper diet and herbs this problem of parasites can be treated.

White Spots on the Nails
White spots on the nails are quite common these days. This indicates the deficiency of zinc, magnesium and calcium in the body. This may be due to the poor diet or also due to the malabsorption. The other reasons may be the presence of toxins in the colon or the intake of allergenic foods. Once this issue is removed, the white spots would stop appearing after the nail has grown out.

Pitting on the Nail
This is seen mostly seen in the individuals who are suffering from the problems of psoriasis, eczema or any of the skin disorder. In case the pitting is seen on the nails and the person is not suffering from any of the skin disorders he/she is at a high risk for any of the skin disorders. Skin disorders generally occur due to the increased Pitta.


Biting of Nails
In case the Vata is in excess then the problem of nail biting takes place. It is because of high anxiety, worry or fear --- all these are indicators of Vata imbalance in the nervous system. This habit of nail biting happens generally unconsciously.

Yellow Nails
Yellow nails can mean different issues. It can be due to fungal infection, genetic problems and lowered immunity and also because of the liver issues, toxins in the system or also excessive use of nail polish. The problem becomes more common as the persons grow older.

Pale Nails
Pale nails are the indicator of anemia or low quantity of red blood cells in the system. This problem can be due to excessive blood loss, deficiency of iron, folate or B12. It might also be due to ulcer, parasitical infection, certain medicines and diseases like cancer, arthritis, HIV or many autoimmune diseases.

Bluish-Purple Nails
If there is bluish-purple tint in the nails, this is due to the lack of oxygen in the system. This might be due to bronchitis or asthma. Regular practice of Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Practice) can help in increasing the lung power.

Nail Separation (Onycholysis)
When the nail begins to separate from the nail bed it causes a white discoloration.  This problem is mostly due to the infection that has developed in the nails.  Onycholysis is caused by skin disorders like eczema, dermatitis and fungal infections.

Clubbed Nails
This problem is caused due to heart problems. This may also occur in case of TB, pneumonia bronchitis. Whatever the cause might be this problem is due to insufficient amount of oxygen or low flow of Prana.


Spooned Nails (Koilonychia)
In this case the nails are flat or concave at the surface, but scooping in the centre. This problem indicates deficiency  in iron like anaemia. Some other causes may be autoimmune diseases, genetic disorders, trauma, etc. 

As mentioned earlier nails are by product of bones or ashtidhatu. In case the ashtidhatu increases the elements of earth increases. As a result the level of Kapha increases in the body.  In case ashtidhatu decreases the element of earth decreases leading to the increase in Vata.

Disclaimer: All the above information is for knowledge only.  A physician should be consulted before treating or diagnosing any of the ailments.

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