Benefits of Red Rice

By Crystal Welch

Even though red rice has been around for centuries, it started being used in the 1970s in the United States has a natural healing remedy for different health ailments. Ailments range from digestive problems, circulatory problems, to high cholesterol levels. Consideration needs to be given regarding how, when and where to buy red rice to gain maximum benefits and increased safety.


Red rice, also known as red rice yeast, is an over-the-counter remedy that has a reputation for lowering “bad” blood cholesterol levels (LDL) in individuals. It can be classified as either an herbal remedy or a dietary supplement. Red rice contains monacolins, which are naturally occurring statins. These statins are known to limit cholesterol synthesis. One of the most potent monacolins is lovastatin, which has been used in pharmaceutical drugs.


The history of red rice dates back to its origin in China, as far back as the Tang dynasty of A.D. 800. Red rice served two purposes: culinary and medicinal. Culinarily, it is used both as a food coloring and dietary staple in certain parts of China. In traditional Chinese medicine, red rice has a history of naturally dealing with a variety of health concerns, ranging from increased blood circulation to better digestion to eliminating blood blockages.


Not many thorough scientific studies have been done about red rice, its drug interactions and potential side effects. Side effects may be similar to those for the prescription drug lovastatin and include headache, digestive disorders, muscle pain or damage and liver dysfunction. According to Medline Plus, a website attributed to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, "In theory, red yeast may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding." Red rice is not classified as a drug, so the FDA does not regulate nor review it. Individuals taking the drug lovastatin are advised against using red rice. Pregnant or breast-feeding women are also advised against taking it, as it has chemicals similar to the prescription drugs, which should not be taken by these women.


Knowing about the benefits of red rice can help an individual save money, save time and possibly save his health. Cost-wise, red rice is lower-priced than pharmaceutical medications. Time-wise, information about red rice is easier to understand and quicker to read than pharmaceutical literature. Health-wise, red rice has been used since the 1970s as a natural remedy for lowering total cholesterol, LDL levels and triglyceride levels, according to Medline Plus.


It is important to discuss a red rice treatment as a health remedy with your medical professional. Get recommendations from your medical provider about where to buy the product, what dosage is needed and any recommended manufacturers. Be certain to inform your provider of any medications you may be taking along with any known drug allergies.


About the Author

Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.

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