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Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Ayurvedic Medicine / Red Yeast Rice (Ayurvedic Medicine): Uses, side effects, and more

Red Yeast Rice (Ayurvedic Medicine): Uses, side effects, and more

Team AckoSept 21, 2023

Red Yeast Rice (RYR), also known as Went Yeast, has been utilised both as a medicine and food in China for generations. It is prepared by fermenting Red Rice with a mould called Monascus purpureus. It is used to treat cholesterol, enhance blood circulation, and promote digestion. In this article, we will learn more about RYR, its potential benefits, and adverse effects.




What is Red Yeast Rice?

Red Yeast Rice is a form of fermented rice. It has been used for ages in traditional Chinese medicine for its significant health-promoting properties, such as lowering cholesterol, supporting heart health, inhibiting cancer cell development, and improving blood sugar and insulin levels.

Red Yeast Rice is considered a powerhouse of nutrients as it is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals such as zinc and iron, and polyphenols, including vanillic acid and ferulic acid. It also contains antioxidants like anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, and lipids such as gamma-oryzanol.

Properties of Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice consumption has various scientifically verified effects, some of which are listed below.

  • It might have antioxidant properties

  • It may be able to reduce blood glucose levels

  • It may have the ability to lower cholesterol

  • It has the potential to protect the liver

  • It could have the ability to boost bone health

  • It has the potential to cause airway dilation

  • It might have anti-tumor properties

  • It has the potential to heal wounds

  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties

Red Yeast Rice in Ayurveda

Ayurveda reveres Red Yeast Rice for its numerous health advantages. It is referred to as Rakthashali in ancient literature and is highly valued for its unique capacity to balance the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It is high in antioxidants, calcium, iron, and zinc, all of which contribute to strengthening the body.

Health benefits of Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice may possess an array of health benefits. Some of the potential health benefits of RYR may include the following.

1. It may promote heart health

Excessive cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. It can cause arteries to constrict and thicken, raising your risk of a heart attack or stroke. RYR is a widely used natural therapy for lowering cholesterol and promoting heart health with little or no side effects.

Research indicates that when combined with statin medicines, RYR helps lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, along with triglycerides and blood pressure. Also, monacolin K may significantly improve endothelial function or the agility of your blood vessels, which is necessary to maintain your vascular and heart health.

2. May help treat metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome includes a number of illnesses that may increase your chance of developing chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. Metabolic syndrome includes a variety of factors, such as high blood pressure, extra body fat, elevated blood sugar, and changes in cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Many studies have revealed that RYR can help alleviate these risk factors and can be used as a natural remedy to help avoid them. According to research, it can significantly lessen the total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, blood sugar, insulin levels, excess body weight, and systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading) in persons with metabolic syndrome.

3. It may help reduce inflammation

Inflammation is a common defensive mechanism that your body uses to protect itself from acute illnesses and external invaders. However, prolonged inflammation may lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

According to research, supplementing with RYR may help lessen inflammation by reducing oxidative stress levels and achieve long-term health benefits. The antioxidant properties of the phytochemicals, such as gamma-oryzanol, flavonoids, and phenols, present in RYR protect the cells from damage and thereby reduce inflammation.

4. It may reduce the risk of cancer

According to one study, RYR may decrease the growth of cancer cells by blocking IL-6, a protein that encourages the growth of cancer cells. It also prevents cancer cells from spreading to other regions of the body (metastasis) because of the presence of polyphenols like proanthocyanidins. Research suggests that RYR may aid in the prevention of breast cancer, gastric cancer, colon cancer, and acute myeloid leukaemia.

5. It may help treat type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is defined as increased blood glucose levels caused by either a low insulin level or the body's resistance to insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels). According to research, the anti-diabetic benefit of RYR is due to its low glycemic index and enhanced insulin sensitivity. Hence it may have a beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes.

6. It may aid proper digestion

According to research, RYR was used to improve digestion in traditional Chinese medicine. It being a good source of dietary fibre, may support the improvement of bowel movements and alleviate constipation. Moreover, RYR is low in fat and high in protein and fibre; it controls appetite, lowers overeating, and may aid in metabolism. This implies that consuming RYR may promote digestion, ease constipation, and aid in losing weight.

Side effects of Red Yeast Rice

Despite the advantages of RYR, excess supplementation with it may have some side effects; therefore it is advisable to consult with your healthcare practitioner before using this supplement. Some side effects of RYR may include the following.

  • Gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and stomach pain

  • Fermented RYR may cause liver damage due to raised liver enzymes

  • Because of the high protein content in Red Yeast Rice, it may cause an allergic reaction, including itching, rashes, hives, and swelling

Interaction to medication

Red Yeast Rice has monacolin K, the active compound used to prepare statin medications, which are used to decrease cholesterol. Hence, you should avoid eating Red Yeast Rice if you are already taking a statin.

RYR could also react with the medications that interact with statins, such as cholesterol-lowering medications, antifungals, antiretrovirals, antibiotics, and some antidepressants. If you are taking any of these medications, consult with your doctor before having Red Yeast Rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to Red Yeast Rice Ayurvedic Medicine.


What are the adverse effects of Red Yeast Rice?

RYR may have the same negative effects as statin medicines, including muscle, kidney, and liver damage. They might also induce gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and stomach pain, as well as allergic reactions like itching, rashes, hives, and swelling.

Is Red Yeast Rice safe for the liver?

Red Yeast Rice may have negative effects on the liver and cause liver damage.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions. Red Yeast Rice is also written as RYR in this article.


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