Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese substance made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus over rice. Various formulations of this product have been used in China since at least 800 AD as a food and also as a medicinal substance within the context of Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine . This ancient preparation contains naturally occurring substances similar (and, in some cases, identical) to cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs in the “statin” family.
What Is Red Yeast Rice Used for Today?
Red yeast rice is thought to be effective for lowering cholesterol, presumably because of its statin constituents. There is evidence to support this use.
Based on the known effects of statins, pregnant or nursing women, women likely to become pregnant, young children, and people with liver or kidney disease should not use red yeast rice. Furthermore, red yeast rice should not be combined with fibrate drugs , cyclosporine , erythromycin-family drugs, antifungal drugs, or high-dose niacin . Finally, it would not make sense to combine red yeast rice with standard statin drugs.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you use red yeast rice to keep your cholesterol levels down, taking the herb St. John’s wort may impair the effectiveness of red yeast rice and cause your cholesterol to rise.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -