Effectiveness of Harag Herbal Poultice for Relieving Abdominal Pain as per Thai Traditional Medicine Practice Guidelines for End-stage Liver Cancer Patients at the Thai Traditional and Integrated Medicine Hospital, Bangkok

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Preecha Nootim
Amornrat Rachderm
Worawut Raksaithong

Abstract

The majority of end stage liver cancer patients suffer from abdominal pain if an effective pain relief treatment is not given, probably affecting healing outcome and quality of life. This quasi-experimental study aimed to determine the effects of a harag (five-root) herbal poultice used for relieving abdominal pain in end stage liver cancer patients as per the Thai Traditional Medicine Practice Guidelines for End-Stage Liver Cancer Patients. The study participants were the patients with end stage of liver cancer at the Thai Traditional and Integrated Medicine Hospital in Bangkok. Sixty subjects who met the selection criteria were included in this study. Among them, the experimental group (n = 30) received a harag herbal poultice made up of five roots, 30 grams each, applied in the affected area of 10x15 cm, twice a day (morning and evening) for 3 days as per the aforementioned practice guidelines, while the control group (n = 30) did not receive any of such herbal poultice treatment. The five herbs were roots of Harrisonia perforata (Blanco) Merr., Capparis micracantha DC., Clerodendrum indicum (L.) Kuntze., Ficus racemosa L., Tiliacora triandra (Colebr.) Diels.  Data were collected retrospectively using (1) a Visual Analog Scale for pain levels as determined by the patients and (2) a patient satisfaction questionnaire, whose content had been validated by five experts and its content validity index was 1 and Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.84. Dependent and independent t-tests were used for data analysis. The results revealed that the experimental group had significantly lower pain scores after receiving the herbal poultice than before. Additionally, the experimental group had a significantly lower pain score than the control group. Furthermore, patient satisfaction was reported as good. So, harag herbal poultice can be used for relieving abdominal pain in patients with end stage liver cancer as per the Thai traditional medicine practice guidelines for such patients, and it is a suitable medication for such a healing purpose.

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