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Red Yeast Rice

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 5, 2020.

What are other common names?

  • Monascus purpureus
  • Ang-Khak
  • Arroz de Levadura Roja
  • Aspergillaceae
  • Beni-Koji
  • Cholestin
  • Hon-Chi
  • Hong Qu
  • Hongqu
  • Koji
  • Koji Rouge
  • Levure de Riz Rouge
  • Monascus
  • Monascus Purpureus Went
  • Red Fermented Rice
  • Red Mold
  • Red Rice Koji
  • Red Rice Yeast
  • Red Yeast
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Red Yeast Rice Extract
  • Red-Koji
  • Riz Rouge
  • Rotschimmelreis
  • Xue Zhi Kang
  • XueZhiKang
  • XZK
  • Zhi Tai
  • Zhibituo
  • Zhitai

What is this product used for?

Red yeast rice is used by some people to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, or for preventing heart disease. Others believe it helps with infections. Some people believe it helps with cancer. Red yeast rice is used by some people to help with diabetes.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not use this product if you are breastfeeding.

  • Do not take this product with grapefruit. It may increase the risks of side effects.

  • Avoid beer, wine, mixed drinks (alcohol), drugs, herbs, and supplements that may harm the liver while taking this product.

  • Take extra care if you are allergic to rice or yeast.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood. These are drugs like warfarin (Coumadin).

  • Take extra care if you are at a high risk for infection. This includes people who have had a transplant, are on chemo, or have an autoimmune disease.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Heart problems

    • Kidney problems

    • Liver problems

    • High cholesterol

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Heartburn

  • Feeling dizzy

  • Low appetite

  • Bloating

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of liver problems. These include upset stomach or throwing up, belly pain, feeling tired, dark urine, yellow skin or eyes, not hungry.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Muscle pain and weakness

  • Very bad joint pain or swelling

  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Last Reviewed Date


Consumer information use

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. You should not rely on this information in deciding whether or not to use, or accept your healthcare provider’s advice regarding use of, any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices. This information does not endorse any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about natural products, possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to you. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options.


Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.