Several news outlets from China have announced that a preparation made from red yeast rice may significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood lipid levels. The preparation, known as xue zhi kang, was found to reduce the occurrence of coronary heart disease by more than 45 percent, and lower the recurrence rate of non-fatal heart attacks by approximately 60 percent.
The effect was based on the results of a four-year survey of more than 4,800 patients with coronary disease throughout China.The People's Daily Online, an English-language Chinese newspaper/website, cited Hong Zhaouguang, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and the head of a research team employed by China's Ministry of Health to review the study, as saying that regular consumption of xue zhi kang provided "a world of difference" on the prevention and control of blood lipid levels and their effect on coronary disease.
Xue zhi kang is one of the most common preparations of red yeast rice. It is produced by mixing rice and red yeast with alcohol, then processing the mixture to remove the rice gluten.
In addition to its wide use in cooking throughout China, Japan and other parts of Asia, red yeast rice has been used as a form of herbal medicine for centuries. It is often employed to improve blood circulation, alleviate indigestion and ameliorate diarrhea.
- Xuezhikang cuts risk of coronary heart disease by a third. CRI Online, June 22, 2004.
- Chinese medicine to reduce coronary disease threat: expert. People's Daily Online, June 22, 2004.