How Does A Doctor Critically Review A Healthcare Product?

Medical Author: Dennis Lee, M.D.

A Traditional Chinese Herb Lowers Cholesterol?

Many viewers have e-mailed us questions regarding alternative medicine and herbal medicine products. Medicinenet.com doctors recognize the importance of these topics and are organizing proper resources to address them. Meanwhile, it is important that viewers understand Medicinenet.com's publishing philosophy and priority. MedicineNet.com's first priority is to present information that has withstood critical review by expert physicians. Our goal is to do more than just report information. We aim to interpret information and place it in proper perspective for our viewers. To conduct a "critical review" of a healthcare product, we ask the following questions:

  1. How does the product work?
  2. Have animal studies been done?
  3. Have human studies (clinical trials) been conducted?
  4. Were these studies performed by reputable scientists using sound study designs and methodology?
  5. Were the results of these studies duplicated by other reputable scientists?
  6. What do the studies show about the short-term and long-term safety and efficacy of the product?
  7. How does the product compare with other products?
  8. What patients are most likely to benefit from the product

Let us now apply these questions to red yeast rice.

Red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by a strain of red yeast. The Chinese have used it for many centuries as a food preservative (to prevent meat spoilage) and as an ingredient in rice wine. It is responsible for the red color of Peking duck. Red yeast rice also has been used as a medicine in China for over 1,000 years for improving blood circulation and for alleviating indigestion and diarrhea. Recently, doctors in China have been using red yeast rice to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides.