Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals.  Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.  Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Key to grades

A
Strong scientific evidence for this use
B
Good scientific evidence for this use
C
Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

Grading rationale

Evidence gradeCondition to which grade level applies
A

High cholesterol

Monacolins, compounds found in red yeast rice extract (RYRE), have been found to have health benefits since the early 1980s. In particular, monacolin K has been marketed as lovastatin and mevinolin. However, due to the large number of compounds that may lower cholesterol other than monacolin K, the cholesterol-lowering mechanism is still unclear. It has been suggested that RYR may block absorption of cholesterol, promote the clearance of cholesterol, or exert antioxidant effects. Overall, results suggest that red yeast rice (RYR) products may lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Some studies also suggest increases in HDL cholesterol. More information on long-term safety and effectiveness is needed.
C

Coronary heart disease

Human studies suggest that RYR use may improve blood flow through widened vessels and reduced inflammation. However, further research is needed in order to determine the effect of RYR on heart disease symptoms and mortality.
C

Diabetes

Although it has not been well studied in humans, RYR has been found to reduce blood sugar and increase insulin in animal research. Early human studies also suggest that RYR may have benefits in diabetes. Further research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
C

Fatty liver

Early evidence suggests that RYR may benefit liver health in people who have diabetes. However, more studies are needed before conclusions can be made.

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Acetaminophen toxicity, anthrax, antioxidant, bacterial infections, blood circulation, bruised muscles, bruises, cancer, colic in children, clogged arteries, cuts, diarrhea, digestion, dysentery (bloody diarrhea), exercise performance, food flavoring, food preservative, hangovers, high blood pressure, HIV, immune system function, indigestion, inflammation, liver disorders, metabolic disorders, ovarian cancer, postpartum care, spleen problems, stomach problems, weight loss, wounds.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com