OBJECTIVE: To compare the clinical effects between ginger-partition moxibustion combined with glucocorticoid and simple oral glucocorticoid for thyreoitis at subacute stage. METHODS: Eighty-one patients were randomly divided into an observation group (41 cases) and a control group (40 cases). In the observation group, ginger-partition moxibustion and hormone were applied. Moxa cones were used at local ashi points, Zusanli (ST 36), Guanyuan (CV 4) and Qihai (CV 6), six cones every point, once every other day and three times a week. Besides, 24 mg methylprednisolone tablets were adopted orally every day, and in two weeks the dose was 16 mg/d, in four weeks 8 mg/d, in six weeks 4 mg/d; all the patients were observed for 8 week. In the control group, simple methylprednisolone was prescribed orally, and the dose, the usage and treatment time were the same as those in the observation group. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxin (T4) and ultra-sensitive thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) before and after treatment were observed in the two groups, as well as fever, the pain of thyroid gland, the regression time of swelling and adverse reaction. RESULTS: The time of thyroid gland pain relieved of the observation group was earlier than that of the control group [(3.07 ± 0.78) days vs (3.62 ± 0.92) days, P < 0.05]. After treatment, T3, T4 and ESR were declined apparently (all P < 0.01), and TSH was obviously increased in the two groups (both P < 0.01). After 2-week treatment, ESR in the observation group was lower than that in the control group (P < 0.05). After 4-week treatment, T3, T4, TSH and ESR in the observation group were better than those in the control group (all P < 0.05). After 8 weeks, all indices in the observation group were superior to those in the control group, without statistical significance between the two groups (all P > 0.05). The effects of the observation group in 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 8 weeks were better than those in the control group (all P < 0.05). The cured course was shorter in the observation group than that in the control group (P < 0.05). The adverse reaction rate in the observation group was lower than that in the control group [4.9% (2/41) vs 22.5% (9/40), P < 0.05]. Three months later after treatment, the cured patients were followed. There was no recrudescence in the observation group and three patients caught the disease again in the control group, but there was no statistical significance between the two groups (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Ginger-partition moxibustion combined with glucocorticoid achieves better effect than simple oral glucocorticoid for thyreoitis at subacute stage, and the adverse reaction is less, which presents the clinical advantages of the integration of Chinese and western medicine.