RCT (Phase II) conducted by Makerere University's School of Health Sciences, Uganda. 

The study is completed, the data analysed and manuscript is in the final stages of completion for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.


The following is the abstract of this submission:


Small cone direct moxa is known to have been used in Japan at the height of its tuberculosis epidemic in the pre-antibiotic era with documented reports of efficacy including one scientific study. Anti-microbial resistant (AMR) disease is becoming a major threat to global health with drug-resistant TB the largest component of this threat, most particularly in Africa and Asia. This study comprises the first scientific investigation into whether this simple traditional therapy might help the challenge of reducing the persistent burden of TB in middle- and low-income countries.


180 newly diagnosed TB patients were randomly assigned to two groups, one given standard first line DOTS TB drug therapy, and the other first line DOTS along with  daily self-administered moxibustion. The two groups were carefully monitored for differences in recovery rates and serological and immunological markers were compared.


The moxa group appeared to respond to the drug therapy faster as measured by their becoming sputum negative. There were accompanying signs of improved CD4 and haemoglobin. These signs were also reported in HIV positive cases. It was also noted that the moxa patients reported better adherence to their drug therapy.


The paper concludes that more investigations should be developed to provide a broader understanding of both effect and potential benefit in treating human TB disease (both with and without co-infection with HIV). It furthermore recommends that these might include MDR-, XDR-, and programmatically-untreatable TB (including in palliative care scenarios) as well as in cases co-infected with HIV.

Please note: the manual used on the study can be examined by clicking HERE.

It is intended that the full published text of the study will be available on open access. Once this is in the public domain we will be updating this page accordingly. 

The research team discussing the findings: (from left to right) Frank Mubiru [biostatistician], Dr Ibanda Hood [study doctor], Professor Paul Waako [Principle investigator]  

The research team discussing the findings: (from left to right) Frank Mubiru [biostatistician], Dr Ibanda Hood [study doctor], Professor Paul Waako [Principle investigator]


Principle Investigator of the study: 

Professor Paul Waako (MBChB) MSc. PhD, Associate Professor and Head of Department Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University Medical School , Kampala, Uganda. 

Original abstract of the study proposal:

"A 12 month pilot study with TB patients in Kampala suggested that daily use of moxa can improve the recovery rate and reduce the side effects of medication. This is now being expanded into a Randomised Control Trial to investigate in more detail the effects of moxa on immune responses, recovery rates and quality of life. The study will involve 180 patients presenting as new cases of TB, either with or without HIV co-infection. All patients will receive the standard TB medication according to their condition. In each group (+/- HIV), half of the patients will be trained in self-administration of daily moxa treatment for 8 months. Regular monitoring of all patients will be carried out , with analysis of sputum and blood, radiological monitoring, clinical examinations and assessment using the Karnovsky score. Patients will be withdrawn from the study in the case of non-compliance or any adverse symptoms or disease complications."

Study site

The study was carried out at Kiswa Health Centre, Kampala, Uganda.