Have you ever noticed the crescent-shaped whitish area on the fingernail’s bed? Some people have it and some don’t, but those who do should know that this nail part is very sensitive and plays an important role in your overall health. If you have it make sure you don’t damage it.
This half-moon is called lunula (Latin for small moon) and it’ actually the visible part of the nail’s root, which is why it’s so sensitive. If you accidentally damage it your entire nail could be permanently deformed, so be extra careful. However, if you just damage the rest of the nail and it falls off or is surgically removed the lunula will remain intact and in its place. The lunula is not really white; it only looks like that when seen through the nail.
It’s most visible on the thumb but not everyone’s lunula is visible. In some cases, the eponychium, the thickened layer of skin surrounding fingernails and toenails, may partially or completely cover the lunula.
According to traditional medicine, the lunula holds some very important information about a person’s overall health. According to traditional Chinese medicine a lack of lunula is linked to anemia and malnutrition while a pale or bluish lunula indicates possible diabetes. If your lunula has reddish smudges you may experience cardiovascular problems.
A lack of lunula or a really small lunula usually indicates indigestion as a result of a slow metabolism and toxin overload in the body.