Eric Brand is one of my favorite bloggers on the Blue Poppy blog. In his latest entry, he calls out the Western scientific community for sloppy research on Chinese herbs. Bathe in the righteous indignation (emphasis and links mine):
I must confess that it really irks me when I find primary herbal resources that spread misinformation within our core professional community.
In most situations, these errors could be minimized with extremely basic efforts at rigor and scholarship. For example, the European ESCOP monographs are one of the most widely used and well-regarded resources in Western herbalism. They have an extensive section on ginseng, complete with an impeccable scientific review and a variety of excellent features. Yet they report the dose of ginseng as 0.5-2.0g per day, with anything over two grams considered overdose. Seriously, are they for real? How could a whole team of scientists and herbalists create a monograph on ginseng without noticing that the traditional and standard clinical dose range of ginseng is 3-9 grams per day? I mean, it isn’t rocket science to determine that ginseng is an herb with an extensive history of use in traditional East Asian medicine, and all the pharmacopoeias in the East clearly list this higher dose range.
The complete post, as you'll see, is more about the concurrent use of ginseng and other stimulants. Combining ginseng (and now reishi mushroom) with coffee is extremely popular - google "ginseng coffee" and you get more than 350,000 results.