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What Does An Absence of Fingernail Moons Mean About Your Health?

  • Published on: 29 May, 2020
  • Last update: 29 May, 2020

Nail health is something I’ve paid close attention to ever since I began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). What I love most about TCM is that it teaches you how to play a detective role in your own health by looking for key signs and signals from your body – whether that’s through your tongue, eyes, skin, or nails. (If this sounds cool to you, click on tongue and skin to learn what they mean too!) Today we’ll be talking about what your nails can tell you about your health — specifically the meaning of an absence of moons.

Before I begin, I like to give the same disclaimer I provide on my tongue posts: this does not mean anything is “wrong” with you and is not meant to diagnose or treat disease. My goal is to give you a picture of where you may be prone to imbalance, which allows you to make tailored changes to your daily health regimen (such as drinking specific teas, supporting liver detoxification or adding in a targeted nutritional supplement).

WHAT DOES AN ABSENCE OF FINGERNAIL MOONS INDICATE?

The technical term for the half moon on your fingernails is lunula, which literally means “little moon” in Latin.

In Ayurvedic Medicine, the ancient Indian “science of life,” the lunula represents one’s “Agni” or “fire” within the body. This is right in line with Traditional Chinese Medicine, which views these lunulas as a representation of one’s “Qi,” also known as energy, metabolism, etc. Essentially, Qi and Agni are the exact same thing (energy, vigor, life force), which to me is beautiful because both systems discovered the same innate energy that drives us and our bodily functions.

When you look at it this way, it can be understood that strong, white moons at the base of each nail indicate strong “Qi” or “fire”: strong digestion, solid immunity, a sharp and energetic mind, a fiery metabolism and a healthy thyroid gland. The more energetic a person is, the whiter (and more present) their moons will be.

It’s normal for the pinky nail to have a small or absent moon, but if you find that moons are absent across most of all of your fingers, it’s a sign that you may need to support this inner fire that governs your digestion, energy and metabolism. If you don’t have moons, let me know in the comments if you suffer from a slow metabolism, fatigue, low energy or poor digestion!

The less moons on a person’s nails, the more likely they are to feel tired and suffer from poor immunity.

Moons, and the deeper underlying Qi, can recede for many reasons: staying up too late several nights of the week, poor diet, poor digestion/chronic hidden gut infections, anemia, and low thyroid function. This is tricky because anemia can be a cause of low thyroid function, staying up too late can be a cause of poor digestion, etc. Everything is related because the body functions as a whole, not as individual parts.

Because there are so many factors that can contribute to this low Qi/energy manifesting in the nails, let’s go over my top tips to get your moons, fire, energy, and immunity back! I tried to include as much information as possible, which I know can be overwhelming. Take out a notebook or your phone and write down the top 5 tips from this next section that a) resonate with you the most, and b) feel the most applicable and practical for your real life. In other words, what will you stick to? Even if you incorporate just a few things from my solutions section, you will strengthen your Qi and feel better in no time. (I definitely suggest ginger tea as a non-negotiable!)

PART 3: HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR BODY + SOLUTIONS

1. Strengthen your digestive fire.

Because the lunulas represent one’s “agni,” or ‘fire,’ they are directly related to your digestive fire and ability to break down/absorb nutrients from food. Ayurveda’s traditional solution to weak internal fire is to consume a small piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lemon juice prior to eating a meal. This slowly and gradually awakens the flames of agni, preparing it to digest the main course. It’s hard for me to remember to bring a knob of ginger everywhere I go, so I do it the TCM way by drinking ginger tea first thing in the morning and again with my largest meal.

The easiest way to do this is to make a full batch in the morning and keep it hot all day long in a stainless steel thermos

Other tips to strengthen your digestion in order to extract more Qi/energy from your food include:

  • Take a tincture of digestive bitters 15 minutes before meals. I created my own as part of my “herbal first aid kit” that I recommend everyone have in their home or purse! It’s called Digestive Juice and all you have to do is spray it on your tongue, taste the flavors for a moment, and wash down with water. A low dosage of bitter taste taken before a meal stimulates “Agni” by increasing the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
  • Eat slowly in a relaxed environment where the only focus is food and good company.
  • Chew food thoroughly.
  • Decrease intake of or eliminate coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, tobacco, fried foods and minimize hot sauce/spices since these can all deplete your stomach acid and thin the lining of the gut.
  • Avoid drinking cold liquids before or during meals. (Honestly, avoid iced drinks altogether. TCM says it creates nothing but stagnation in the body)
  • Take a 10-15min walk after meals.
  • Only eat when you are hungry – eating out of boredom will result in undigested food, diluted fire and “ama” (toxic residue) due to poorly digested food.
  • Cook with herbs and ingredients that stimulate digestion such as…
  • Thyme – stimulates the production of gastric juice
  • Ginger – relieves nausea, heartburn, gas, soothes and relaxes the intestinal tract
  • Trikatu – an Ayurvedic blend of ginger, black pepper, and long pepper. Supports digestion & overall gastric function, stimulates digestive enzymes, promotes rapid absorption of nutrients.
  • Sea salt – stimulates stomach acid production

If you’re looking for even more ways to improve your digestive fire, check out the rest of my 11 unconventional tips for improved digestion here.

2. Reduce “food stagnation.”

Weak digestive fire can lead to a potential build up of toxins in the system that are created when food is poorly digested, called “ama” by Ayurveda. Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to this as “food stagnation” which can create heat in the intestines and liver. This buildup, which often centers in the lower bowel and colon is a common root cause for many disorders and should be the first thing you look at when treating the body as a whole.

  • The most important thing you can do is get your bowels moving daily (Triphala is an excellent Ayurvedic capsule formula you can take in the evenings to ensure morning bowel movements.)
  • Drink hot water or tea with every meal, never cold or iced. Hot water helps break down, liquefy and emulsify the fats in your meal. Ever put oil in the fridge and watch it get solid and hard? Don’t do that to your stomach!
  • Minimize consumption of: fatty, fried and greasy foods (for example french fries, hamburgers, pizza, and cheese), cold foods and drinks (including raw foods, fruit, tofu, milk or soy/plant milk, iced drinks, salads, ice cream and other refrigerated or iced items), and simple carbs (especially flour products like muffins, pastries, crackers, breads, toast, pasta, cakes and chips of all types).
  • Chew on fennel seeds after meals to stimulate proper digestion and avoid undigested food.
  • Do not overeat.
  • Try drinking hawthorn berry tea with honey at night instead of having dessert, which like triphala really helps to clean your system out and strengthen digestion.

3. Get rid of “the cold”

TCM teaches that people with small/absent lunulas are often bothered by “pathogenic cold” (yang deficiency) and weak immunity.

source: heatherbrucehealing.com

This can be a direct result of the Western equivalent to “yang deficiency”: low thyroid. When your thyroid is low, circulation is poor and your hands and feet are often freezing. Again, it is wonderful to drink ginger tea in the mornings, especially if you have symptoms of yang deficiency which can include menstrual cramps, aversion to cold, lack of circulation, poor appetite, fatigue, achy joints, cold hands and feet, poor digestion, depression, etc. It’s also important to get your thyroid tested if you have these symptoms (here are the labs you should be asking for), and either create a plan with your practitioner to improve thyroid function naturally OR replace the thyroid hormone you’re low in via something like natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). Treating an undiagnosed thyroid condition can change your life, especially if you suffer from mood disorders. A mental illness should never be diagnosed until thyroid issues are ruled out, but unfortunately most doctors only test TSH levels which can mean you easily miss a true thyroid issue. Make sure you read the lab page I linked – sometimes the best indicator of poor thyroid function is high “Reverse T3,” meaning active T3 is not getting into the cells.

To resolve “yang deficiency” from a TCM perspective (and support your thyroid in the process), you want to strengthen digestion (known as “the spleen”) with my tips above. Spleen adaptogens such as Reishi mushroom, Ginseng, and Astragalus can be very helpful – find the one that is right for you and take daily in tincture or capsule form. On top of this, go for more foods that are “yang” rather than “yin.” And most of all, do not be afraid of eating protein. It is crucial for muscle mass maintenance and thyroid function.

4. Support your immune system

This piece is key, as weak digestive fire/Qi will make you susceptible to increased infections only makes you feel even more fatigued than you already are! You want to implement some sort of herbal tool that will provide you with daily immune support to prevent recurrent bugs from delaying your healing process. My best advice would be to choose an immune-boosting herb that is also a Spleen Qi adaptogen like the ones I listed above. This way you can kill two birds with one stone (aka address poor digestion AND immunity with one supplement, haha). My favorite would be reishi mushroom, which I actually have in my Immune Shroom formula via my store. This is my #1 recommendation for those with poor immunity and yang deficiency/spleen Qi deficiency.

5. Test for and treat anemia if needed (iron deficiency)

TCM states that the lunula can disappear when one is experiencing long term iron deficiency. One of the labs recommended in the link above for testing your thyroid would be a full iron panel, which is how I caught my own iron deficiency. Click this post to see the iron labs you should be asking for if you suspect anemia. I was previously taking Douglas Labs brand of iron tablets, but I’ve now switched to Ancestral Supplements grass-fed beef spleen capsules which contain 5x the amount of heme iron as beef liver. In my opinion this is the most natural and absorbable form available in the world, but at the end of the day you have to find what works for YOU to get your lab values back up into range.

I hope you found this article helpful! Thank you so much for reading, and don’t forget to check out the rest of my Nail Signs series HERE.

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43 Comments

Amy

Reply
This is so interesting. I always wondered why I had no moons. I have loads of these issues, ibs, bloating, sluggish digestion, low energy, add (inattentive type), depression, cold hands and feet, I could sleep all the time. I also recall having low thyroid hormones but it was not low enough to be abnormal…. I also had awful periods pains and had surgery to remove fibroids in 2020…. I will definitely look into this stuff. Thank you!

Jean

Reply
I have a craving for carbs, and have been gaining weight. I also have fibromyalgia is there anything you can recommend to curb my cravings? 😊 Thank you

charisa

Reply

try drinking lots of water and maybe reduce stress

VK

Reply
I don’t recall ever having any lunula on my nails and I’m 36. There’s just a teeny-tiny one on my left thumb, barely visible but that’s about it. No deficiency, depression or ill health condition. I have a robust digestion and metabolism and everything I have read about it’s possible causes doesn’t hold true for me! Fun fact I guess.

Jo

Reply
No moons. Tired. Pof

Heather

Reply
I have moons only on my thumbs. My hands and feet are usually cold. I am. always tired, my joints hurt, and poor digestion. I have little appetite and am not overweight. I crave sugar and carbs. I would love to feel more “normal”. Thanks

Lyn

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I only have moons on my thumbs. I am in excellent health. No digestive issues, no fatigue, I actually look and feel 10 years younger than my age of 54. No moons is no problem for me!

Tanya

Reply
I don’t have moons, I’m on thyroxine, sluggish, fatigue, slow metabolism, cold hands and feet, pale complexion, sluggish bowels, just generally unwell and over weight. I would really appreciate your help, thank you 😊

Tanya

Reply
I don’t have moons, I’m on thyroxine, sluggish, fatigue, slow metabolism, cold hands and feet, pale complexion, sluggish bowels, just generally unwell and over weight. I would really appreciate your help, thank you 😊

Lupeluna

Reply
I have purple lines

Itu

Reply
Wow… I never paid attention and while reading to this, I thought it was common for everyone to have the moon on their nails. I have on both thumbs which are visible…and then on other fingers, they are fading. I’m obese and have low iron level with serious digestion problems, always tired and very sluggish after lunch time.

judith

Reply
I have one moon on my left hand tumb.I suffer from food allergies,I feel sluggish every day.I have IBS.Ihad to stop eating fiber because of gas.I get bloated every day bigger and bigger.I suffer from ADHD.I don’t digest my food.Stopped having onions and garlic. My nails are brittle and break length wise.I never stop talking of what I suffer from.I use to have ginger which I stopped because it us to give me hot flushes.Thankyou.All you said I suffer from.I use homeopath remedies wich work for me.Dont work on my bloating.

SALAM

Reply
I’m 16.. I never had moons, literally non of my fingers! just 2 weeks ago figured out my iron is way bellow the normal.. also vitamin d3 in under 1 while it should be 43 in a normal human… I have a healthy diet, but also alwayssss feel so tired… help me plz

Aaron

Reply
Thx for you help dear

Wale

Reply
I’ve had no moons all my life and I’ma healthy guy about to turn 50. I walk 4 miles in an hour every week day and I have no issues with my movements and not sluggish.

Maria C

Reply

I dont have any moons and feel sluggish tired and very unwell

Lorna

Reply
Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Please help me, I don’t have any moons

Shelia

Reply

Where do I find immune shrooms? I have many Asian market in my area. Do I get it there?

Maria

Reply
Hello. I have no moons. I’m always cold and tired.

Melanie Williams

Reply
I have no moons on my nails, but that’s not all I am diabetic. I have had 5 amputations on my feet, I have had a stoke and 4 tia’s. My glucose sugar levels ru up to 400 al the time. I’m weak,tired and sometimes when my sugar is so high all I can do is sleep with no control. I am in constant pain 24/7. I have bald spots from loosing my hair. My body is rejecting me and I have no ideas on what to do. My potassium runs low, my magnesium also runs low and I get frequent UTI’s. All of these things are from my diabetes. Sometimes I just want to give up. Please if you have any ideas I would love to hear from you. Thank you

Kymmi

Reply
Hello. I must be an anomaly. I have never had moons and I am never sick. I last went to the dr in 2017. Never digestive issues or anything else you have mentioned. Yay me I guess

zay

Reply
“My favorite would be reishi mushroom, which I actually have in my Immune Shroom formula via my store. This is my #1 recommendation for those with poor immunity and yang deficiency/spleen Qi deficiency.” Hi, are you referring to reishi or immune shroom as your #1 recommendation for poor immunity and yang deficiency/spleen Qi deficiency ?

Donna

Reply
I only have moons on my thumbs. I have RA. Stomach/digestive issues.

LuluB

Reply

I too have RA, digestive issues that all started when I was diagnosed with an anomaly condition of valve seizures where is the valves near my heart will flutter, it had caused a multitude of issues including being riddled with clots and a “bout of dying and resuscitation” but God is awesome. The doctors don’t know what to do with me I am on blood thinners, calcium blockers, beta blockers, omeprazole, fluticasone because for some reason , my body is making too much mucus as well, oh yeah claritin, even tho I don’t have allergies, and an iron pill 3x’s a week. I also had full renal failure for a couple of months when I aspired.

Carol Downer

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I have no moon can you help me please. I am really active work out 4 times per week but my nutrition is off. I need your guidance. Thanks in advance.

Lo

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This is very interesting, because I have only half moons on my thumbs and what is interesting – I was just diagnosed with systemic lupus and sjogrens at 44. I have Raynauds on a couple of fingers, but not my thumbs. When I drink a hot tea that is ginger and lemon, I feel better. This is something Rheumatologist should really look at in patients…

Kathy.

Reply
I had no moons for about a year or more. I also had thyroid cancer 6 years ago. Started taking B12 now I have moons on my thumbs and small ones on two finger on each hand.

isaiah

Reply
Hi does your immune shroom supplement help with mucus that you described as a factor towards no fingernail moons and bad circulation ? please help i have no moons on my fingers except a little on both thumbs and very bad digestive issues.

Dianne Hyatt

Reply
I have hardly any moons but I have been unwell since end of august and have been prescribed morphine for pain relief.How ever besides that I am always cold and a vegetarian also quite tired and prone to crying over silly things .By the way I used to have moons but didn’t realise there’d gone until reading your article so thankyou.Dianne 23.November

Eve

Reply
I don’t have little fingernail moons. I suffer with under active thyroid.

lo

Reply
i used to have moons and ever since the lockdown has been eating unhealthily and broke out in eczema/is easily tired/bleeding gums. i just bought some liquid iron to boost my levels up and is loadin up on the vitamin c and b12 x thanks for sharing this

Lupe Avila

Reply
I only have the moons on my thumb. I am always fatigue, cold, don’t sleep much, and currently sick with an undiagnosed illness. I need miracles 😭 . This was a great read as usual. Thank you, Olivia.

Schpilli

Reply
I have vertically ridged nails with no moons… What may be my health problem? PLEASE GUIDE.

Holly

Reply
When i first read this article i immediately checked my nails… i only had one noticeable “moon” on my left thumbnail. I found this page, and your Instragram account, because i was desperately battling depression, horrible digestion, extreme stress and anxiety, and an overall feeling of “not well” I have been fascinated by mushrooms for most of my adult life… i had a professor, 20 years ago, that told me that mushrooms were the most misunderstood and yet to be discovered/studied organisms and that they held many beneficial secrets… this sparked a great interest in me and into the woods i went to discover these fascinating wonders of nature. Sounds odd, i know 🙂 However, since i was already a believer in mushrooms, finding your ImmuneShroom blend and then reading all about their benefits, I bought three jars. I have been taking them for almost a month now….. and guess WHAT…… 🙂 I am feeling better than i can ever remember feeling… my digestion is A-MA-ZING… and i have all these little moons peaking out from my cuticles. 🙂 I am not sure if i need to add anymore supplements to my diet…(i am still learning) but the ImmuneShroom blend is one i will definitely keep and recommend to anyone that will listen to my ramblings. Me, and my moons, thank you!!!

Kathie

Reply
This is really interesting, but I think I must be a conundrum. I actually have the moons, but I have ulcerative colitis (my flares are fairly well controlled, but I pretty much have some sort of stomach ache/pain most days) and I have like zero energy and am very often fatigued. Luckily, other than that I’m pretty healthy and usually don’t get sick or infections. I do take a lot of supplements and just actually received my immune shrooms from you today! I’m really excited to try them out. Any additional info on good supplements of yours For me to take based on my health situation would be greatly appreciated!!

Natalie

Reply
I have no moons as of a few years ago, when I also began presenting all the symptoms you mention with no moons

Kimberly

Reply
Hi Olivia, I thought it was a bit contradicting to say in your article to reduce how much tea you consume but then turn around and say drink tea with every meal. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to cut my hot tea consumption or aid my digestive system with it. Could you clarify that statement for me please thank you.

Brenda Procko

Reply

I believe Olivia was referring to black tea with caffeine.

Holly Strobel

Reply

She’s referring to caffeine not tea in general. Aka black tea

Cynthia

Reply
I only have moons on my thumbnails. I have poor digestions, I’m a nurse & work 12hr night shifts, so the fatigue is real. I feel like I’m always “recovering.” I do have daily BMs but recently noticed my hair is falling out A LOT. I def don’t feel as “whitty” as I use to. I def overweight. Even though I have a good meal, I never feel “satisfied.”

caroline

Reply
I found this article very interesting. I was told growing up that the moons in your fingers meant you had parasites in your system. I have little to no moons in my fingers and thought this was a good thing because of what I previously had learned. I do have some of the symptoms you listed- fatigue, cold hands/feet, etc and am looking forward to researching this more. Thank you!

Emily

Reply
I do not have the fingernail moons and have very bad digestion. (BM only about once a week), bad bloat, always feel nauseous

Schpil

Reply

Once a week…😱… seriously you need to look a doctor

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