Red yeast rice seems to be one of the most promising natural treatments on the market for lowering cholesterol. This product is a traditional Chinese food that is made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus papyrus over rice.Under the traditional name Hong Qu,red yeast rice has been used in China as a food and medical substance since at least A.D 8OO.
It is used to treat indigestion ,diarrhea ,and abdominal pain.Today,it is also used in wine making and as a food coloring. It was recently discovered that this ancient Chinese preparation contains more than 11 naturally occurring substances closely related to approved stating drugs,the leading cholesterol lowering drugs on the market .
Based on this discovery and other related studies,red yeast rice has become a popular over-the counter cholesterol-reducing agent.
One product of the fermentation process of red yeast rice is mevinolin,an HMG-CoA reeducates inhibitor that is similar to the synthetically produced lovastatin.Other constituents produced from fermentation include flavonoids and unsaturated fatty acids,which may also contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effect.