While acupuncture and bodywork excel at treating the body's musculoskeletal framework, they address the internal organs only indirectly, via the channel/organ network. Herbs treat the internal organs and tissues more directly, reaching them via the digestive, circulatory, and various excretory systems (for instance, certain herbal components are recognized by the body as non-food, and in their excretion by the kidneys and bladder can kill microbes causing urinary tract infections). Therefore, combining acupuncture and bodywork with herbal medicine vastly expands the scope of traditional Chinese medicine beyond the aches and pains that most people think of when they consider acupuncture as a healthcare modality.
Over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, human beings discovered the medicinal effects of countless herbs as they foraged their way through their environment. This coevolution of plants and humans has resulted in medicines that our bodies can metabolize and utilize with minimal side effects (of course there are toxic plants in nature, but the wise herbalist knows to avoid them, or to process them in such a way as to make them usable). Compared to herbs, many pharmaceutical medications produce unwanted side effects. This leads many people to desire more natural medicines to deal with their health problems.
The problem is that, for most consumers, it is difficult to know what herb to get for what condition. And, even if you know what herb you need, and find it in a store or on the Internet, you don't know how long it has sat in a warehouse, its vital components degrading over time. Finally, it is rarely the case that a single herb effectively treats any given health condition. Kaz makes all his own medicines himself, using fresh wildcrafted, garden-grown, and organic dried herbs. He extracts and preserves the herbs at their peak potency in a mix of ethanol and water, and then combines them in formulas of multiple herbs to address the complex needs of individual patients, as determined by a thorough intake and pulse, tongue, and hands-on diagnosis.
Kaz is fond of saying, "Don't trust an herbalist who can't cook!" He compares the skilled herbalist to a gourmet chef: each must possess a passion for his craft, an encyclopedic knowledge of his materials, and the creativity and spontaneity necessary to create new combinations under changing circumstances. With its percolation columns, copper coils, large hand-cranked press, and many amber-colored glass containers, Kaz's herb pharmacy has often been likened to an alchemist's laboratory. Luckily for his patients, it is not uncommon for them to sample his latest medicinal liqueur, herbal soda, or whatever else is brewing at the time of their visit.