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Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese substance made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus purpureusover 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.
The dosage of red yeast rice used in most studies is 1.2 to 2.4 g of red yeast rice powder daily. However, due to patent-infringement suits by the manufacturer of a statin drug that is naturally present in red yeast rice, the most studied red yeast rice product has been taken off the market, and it is not clear whether the remaining products have greater or lesser potency. Note: The herb St. John’s wort is known to reduce the effectiveness of drugs in the statin family. 1 There is every reason to believe it would have the same effect on the action of red yeast rice.
- Andrén L, Andreasson A, Eggertsen R. Interaction between a commercially available St. John's wort product (Movina) and atorvastatin in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 63(10):913-6.