Table 1: Characteristics of the included studies.

StudyStudy typeParticipants characteristicsSample sizeMale, %Age, yearsHerbal compress ingredientsCharacteristics of herbal compress interventionControl
Detail of interventionNumber of sessions (duration) Practitioner

Pain reduction
Artkarn, 2006 [10]QEHave recently been developed symptoms of back pain and knee pain with no prior history of using NSAIDs in the past 7 days  4030.0NR, range 25–55The Institute of Thai Traditional Medicines RecipeSteamed for 10 minutes then compressed after a 40-minute massage for 30 minutes on days 1, 3, and 5 with concomitant use of oral diclofenac 25 mg tid every day5 (5 days)A Thai traditional massage practitioner who has 5-year experience in using herbal compressOral diclofenac 25 mg tid every day
Chiranthanut et al.,  
2014 [11]
RCTHave been diagnosed with knee OA according to the American College of Rheumatology for >3 months and had the VAS of pain in the range of 175–375 out of 500  6027.0NR, Int. 63.7 ± 6.1; Ctrl1 65.4 ± 9.8; Ctrl2 62.2 ± 9.5The 225 g herbal balls contained dried herbs of Zingiber montanum rhizomes (40%), Curcumalonga L. rhizomes (10%), Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf leaves and leaf sheaths (10%), Croton roxburghii N. P. Balakr. leaves (10%), Tamarindus indica L. leaves (10%), Citrus hystrix DC. peels (5%), Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC. leaves (5%), Vitex trifolia L. leaves (5%), and camphor (5%)Steamed for 20 minutes and compressed for 1 hour (changed the steamed herbal ball when the current one was slightly lukewarm) three times a week9 (3 weeks)A health professional practitioner who is trained in Suandok-style Thai massageCtrl1: massage for 1 hour three times a week; Ctrl2: oral ibuprofen 400 mg tid every day
Iampornchai et al.,  
2009 [12]
QEPostpartum mothers who had back pain for both after labor and 24 hr after labor   1000NR, Int. 26.5 (23.0–33.0); Ctrl 26.0 (21.7–30.0)NRCompressed after the court type Thai traditional massage for the total of 60 minutesOnceFive trained Thai traditional medicine practitionersUsual labor care including medication and exercise
Intarasukum and Kerdcharoen,  
2011 [13]
QEPrimigravida mothers with singleton term who had labor pain  1000NR, Int. 22.6 ± 4.1; Ctrl 21.7 ± 4.8Zingiber montanum 500 g, Citrus hystrix DC. peels 100 g, Cymbopogon citratus Stafp 200 g, Tamarindus indica leaves 100 g, Curcuma longa L. 100 g, Acacia concinna (Willd.) DC. leaves 50 g, Salt 60 g, Camphor 30 g, and Borneo camphor 30 gStart compressed on pelvis, coccyx, and waist when the cervix dilated for 4-5 cm, compress for 30 minutes and pause for 10–15 minutes then recompress for 30 minutes. Perform this cycle (compress and pause) until the cervix dilated for 8-9 cm, and then perform the final compress for 30 minutesOne courseThe investigator (nurse)Usual labor care
Lekutai et al.,  
2008 [14]
QEHad been diagnosed with subacute knee OA with no plan for surgical treatment  89NRNR, range 51–55Damnoen Saduak Hospital Recipe (Zingiber montanum 500 g, Curcuma longa L.200 g, Citrus hystrix DC. peels 150 g, Cymbopogon citratus Stapf 100 g, Tamarindus indica leaves 100 g, Salt 50 g, Camphor 30 g, Borneo camphor 30 g)Compressed for 30 minutes (changed the steamed herbal ball every 5 minutes) once a day5 (5 days)NRCtrl1: compressed with hot compress for 30 minutes once a day; Ctrl2: isometric exercise for 30 minutes once a day
Phromjuang,
2010 [15]
QEElderly (age 60–80 years) who had knee OA pain ≥6 months  40NRNR, range 60–80Zingiber montanum 500 g, Curcuma longa L. 200 g, Salt 1 tbsp, and Camphor 2 tbspSteamed for 10 minutes and then compressed for 30 minutes (changed the steamed herbal ball every 5 minutes) twice a week8 (4 weeks)NRUsual care including oil massage and OA modern medicines
Puengsuwan et al.,  
2009 [16]
CTHad been diagnosed with nonspecific low back pain  2437.541 ± 8Fresh herbs contain Zingiber montanum, Curcuma longa L., Curcuma zedoaria Roscoe, Cryptolepis buchanani Roem. & Schult, Croton oblongifolius Roxb. leaves, Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC. leaves, Citrus hystrix DC. peels, Cymbopogon citratus Stapf, Tamarindus indica leaves Salt, Camphor, and Borneo camphorSteamed for 30 minutes then compressed for 20 minutesOnceA Thai traditional massage practitioner Compressed with hot compress for 20 minutes
Sathianrat et al.,  
2003 [17]
QEHad myofascial pain syndrome with pain around neck, shoulder, and upper back for 2 days to 2 weeks   9027.8NR, range 20–69The Institute of Thai Traditional Medicines RecipeCompressed for 30 minutes on days 1, 3, and 53 (5 days)A health professional practitioner who has 2-year experience in using herbal compressCtrl1: compressed with hot compress for 30 minutes on days 1, 3, and 5; Ctrl2: applied diclofenac gel at 7 am, 1 pm, and 9 pm everyday
Sukonthasarn,
2004 [18]
QEElderly (age >60 years) who had knee pain >1 year with no sign of inflammation at knee  75NRNRNRCompressed everyday 14 (2 weeks)Village health volunteers who were trained in the use of herbal ballCtrl1: knee exercise 3 times a day; Ctrl2: knee exercise 3 times a day plus herbal compress once a day
Suwan, 2000 [19] QEHad been diagnosed with knee OA with no plan for surgical treatment  3020.0NR, range 40–79Zingiber montanum 500 g, Curcuma longa L. 500 g, Salt 5 tbsp, and Camphor 2 tbspCompressed everyday 7 (7 days)The investigator (nurse)Compressed with hot compress once a day

Induce lactation
Listisit and Pakdeechot,  
2009 [20]
QEPostcesarean mothers who had no milk production within 2 hours postpartum  1000NR, Int. 32.0 ± 4.1; Ctrl 27.5 ± 5.6 NRCompressed within 24 hours postcesareanOnceThe investigator (nurse)Routine increasing milk production program (baby holding and breast feeding promotion every 2-3 hours)
Pakdeechot et al.,  
2010 [21]
QEPostpartum mothers who had no milk production within 2 hours postpartum  1000NR, Int. 27.1 ± 5.6; Ctrl 26.8 ± 5.1NRCompressed within 24 hours postpartumOnceNRRoutine increasing milk production program (baby holding and breast feeding promotion every 2-3 hours)
Trainapakul et al.,  
2010 [22]
QEMothers who had no milk production within 48 hours postpartum  46 0NR, Int. 29.1 ± 6.4; Ctrl 27.7 ± 5.5Zingiber montanum 500 g, Curcuma longa L. 25 g, Curcuma zedoaria Roscoe 25 g, Citrus hystrix DC peels. 200 g, Cymbopogon citratus Stapf 100 g, Tamarindus indica leaves 50 g, Borneo camphor 5 g, Camphor 5 gSteamed for 10 minutes and then compressed after a 10-minute breast massage for 20 minutes each breastOnceA Thai traditional massage practitioner Compressed after a 5-minute breast massage with mini hot bag for 5 minutes each breast

Values presented as mean ± SD; median (interquartile range); Zingiber montanum 500 g, Curcuma longa L. 200 g, Citrus hystrix DC. peels 200 g, Cymbopogon citratus Stapf 100 g, Tamarindus indica leaves 300 g, Acacia concinna (Willd.) DC. leaves 100 g, Salt 1 tbsp, Camphor 2 tbsp, and Borneo camphor; CT, crossover trial; Ctrl, control; Int., intervention; NR, not reported; NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; OA, osteoarthritis; QE, quasi-experimental; RCT, randomized controlled trial; tbsp, table spoon; tid, three times a day; VAS, visual analogue scale.