What is The San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic? The SFBMC is a health care practice in which western herbal medicine is used as the main therapeutic modality, and applied by herbalist Joshua Muscat.
Who is Joshua Muscat? I am an herbalist in my seventeenth year of clinical practice. I have been formally studying herbal medicine for the past seven years. My education in the art of herbalism includes studies at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine, studies with Chuck Garcia who is a Curendero, studies with Herbalist Karyn Sanders, studies at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, several college courses on subjects such as anatomy physiology nutrition and botany, independent studies in whatever subject seems applicable, and much time spent sitting with the plants themselves.
What is ‘western herbal medicine’? Western herbal medicine is the use of plants that grow in the western world as primary therapeutic agents. The title of ‘western herbalist’ could be applied to a diverse range of herbalists including Native American practitioners and the Eclectic physicians of the 1800’s. I have drawn knowledge from numerous sources in my training. For the most part I use botanical agents that I wildcraft myself in California and the surrounding states.
What is wildcrafting? Wildcrafting is the harvest of wild plants so that they may be processed into medicine. I go to great lengths to insure that the harvesting I do is done in a responsible and sustainable fashion. If I do not find enough of the herb I am looking for to harvest in a sustainable manner, then I do without that particular medicine. I do my best to find functional alternatives to plants that are under consumer and environmental stress such as Echinacea and Golden Seal. At the SFBMC you can be sure that the herbs you are given have been acquired with utmost sensitivity to the land.
What services are available at the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic? Health care can be broken into two broad categories, acute and chronic care. While herbal medicine is suitable for treating certain types of acute issues (such as a urinary tract infection, genital warts, or a head cold), it’s true strength lies in the ability to subtly influence metabolic patterns found in long term disorders (such as sinus allergies, chronic fatigue, or arthritis). This is the basis of a constitutional approach to medicine.


What is constitutional medicine? Constitutional medicine is an approach to administering therapeutic agents where the choices of which medicine to use are based on the recognition of patterns of imbalance. At the SFBMC, herbs are chosen for their ability to strengthen weaknesses, redirect excessive tendencies, move fluids, and excite stagnating tissue. This is in sharp contrast to forms of medicine that choose therapeutics because they are supposed to help a named condition. I believe that it is important to see beyond disease names in order to more clearly identify the processes that are supporting the existence of the symptoms. I have learned that any two people with a process of illness of the same name will manifest that illness in a way that is unique to their person, thus requiring an approach that is tailored to their own specific needs. This is the basis of holistic medicine.

What is holistic medicine? Holistic medicine is taking a clients whole life experience into account when administering medicine. At the SFBMC many factors are taken into consideration when determining what therapeutic options to utilize. Diet modifications may be recommended, life style adjustments may be in order, and referrals to other types of practitioners are made when appropriate. I have even found myself recommending relocation to a different part of the country. I would like to stress however that I recognize the fact that not everyone is ready or willing to change their diet, lifestyle, etc. I make a point to work with people within their limitations. I will be as holistic in my recommendations as you want me to be. Many people do things they know are not good for them, yet that thing may serve a needed function for them. I see that it is my job to work with people on the level they want me to. To me part of working holistically is recognizing my clients limitations.