Observation of the nose

Significance of an inspection of the nose for diagnostic purposes:

In some instances, specific features that appear on the nose may help to define a final diagnosis. Since inhalation and exhalation occurs through the nose, the nose can be seen as the window of the Lung: Lung Qi passes through the nose. The nose, through which smells are detected, is in TCM also linked to the Spleen and may reflect its condition.


(a) The Stomach meridian passes through the nose.
(b) Color and Sheen:
   (i) A blue nose (tip of the nose): Abdominal pain.
  (ii) A yellow nose: Interior accumulation of Damp-Heat.
 (iii) A white nose: Deficiency or Blood deficiency.
 (iv) A red nose: Heat in the Spleen and/or the Lung channel.
  (v) A black nose: Dampness or water retention.
 (vi) A black, dry nose: Presence of Heat Toxins.
(c) Shape or form:
   (i) A swollen nose can indicate an accumulation of pathogenic factors.
  (ii) A shrunken nose may be a sign of Qi deficiency.
 (iii) Clear nasal discharge: Wind-Cold condition.
 (iv) Turbid nasal discharge: Wind-Heat condition.
  (v) Flaring of the nostrils: Heat in the Lung (initial stage).
(d) Inspection of nasal discharge:
 (i) A thick, sticky, yellow nasal discharge indicates an invasion of external pathogenic factor Wind-Heat.
(ii) A thin, watery nasal discharge could be an indication of Wind-Cold invasion.

Leave a Comment