Pharmaca News

Since 2000, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy has offered traditional pharmacy services alongside holistic remedies so customers can choose how they want to approach their health care. Our staff of certified practitioners helps guide customers through our selection of over-the-counter medications, alternative remedies, and natural cosmetics and body care products for a stress-free shopping experience. Pharmaca has 24 locations throughout the western US, in California, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico and Washington. You can also shop online at www.pharmaca.com. Pharmaca has established this blog to share information and news on the latest topics in integrative health, from government standards to ingredient questions to advice. We hope you'll turn to Project Wellness for expertise and inspiration.

  • Practitioner Spotlight: What's in a Nutritionist’s Medicine Cabinet?

    group shotOur health and beauty practitioners are pros at recommending natural skin care remedies for customers. But what are the essentials they always keep on hand? We asked Sabrina Magno, certified nutritionist at our Pacific Palisades, about the Pharmaca products she can’t live without.

    Nature's Way Raw Coconut
    I love educating customers on the benefits of organic, whole-food sources of healthy fats, and coconut oil is a great source of minerals, vitamins and fiber. It's packed with medium chain fatty (MCT) acids that provide quick energy, and is a great natural source of lauric acid, which offers additional antimicrobial properties. It can be easily added to smoothies, used as a healthy alternative to butter or added to millet breakfast porridge or tea.”

    Thorne Research Stress B-Complex
    In my practice I’ve found that a good percentage of my clients don’t have adequate levels of B vitamins. B vitamins often work together in the body, play a crucial role in cell metabolism and are responsible for numerous processes including synthesis of DNA and RNA, and methylation of DNA. At Pharmaca we offer high-quality products like Thorne’s Stress B-Complex, which has active forms of all eight B vitamins, along with extra pantothenic acids.” 
 


    Inner-Eco Fresh Coconut Water Probiotic and GT’s & Synergy Kombucha
    “I am a big proponent of creating a healthy microbiome. In addition to fermenting my own vegetables at home, I am always in search of good sources of probiotics. These coconut water and kombucha options are a great way to help replenish and inoculate gut flora with healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast such as saccharomyces boulardii.”

    Aura Cacia Peppermint Essential Oil
    “If you’ve met with me at Pharmaca, you probably noticed my passion for promoting aromatherapy! Essential oils stimulate the brain and neural activity by crossing the blood-brain barrier. Peppermint oil is great for headaches, digestives issues and as a decongestant.

    John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil 
    “The skin is our largest organ and we have to feed it well! This organic blend of oils is a great source of antioxidants, ideal for creating healthy skin, and is an excellent tool to fight skin dryness during cold weather. Plus it has the safest rating in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database.”

  • Medicine Cabinet Spotlight: An Herbalist’s Supplement Essentials

    HannahsPicksOur health care practitioners are pros at recommending natural remedies for customers. But what are the essentials they always keep on hand? We asked Hannah Miles, clinical herbalist and nutrition counselor at our store in Pacific Palisades, Calif. to give us her Pharmaca favorites.

    Host Defense MycoShield Spray
    “This product is fabulous for everyday use. I also always have it on hand when travelling. Just two sprays to the back of the throat 2-3 times a day will keep you protected throughout cold season!”

    Host Defense MyCommunity
    “If on the off chance I do succumb to an illness, the first thing I grab is MyCommunity. At the first sign of a scratchy throat, fatigue or aches I’ll take 2 MyCommunity every 3 hours for the first day, then drop down to 2 pills 3x a day for the next 2-3 days, then 1 pill 3x a day for the remaining few days. This will either protect me from coming down with an illness, or if I do actually fall victim, this will significantly cut down on symptom severity and down time.”

    Boiron Oscillococcinum
    “This is specific to the flu, and is something that needs to be taken BEFORE you actually get sick. But it’s fantastic for reducing symptoms and symptom severity.”

    Garden of Life MyKind Organics Vitamins
    “I take their Women’s Once daily, and their D3 and B12 spray. The sprays are delicious and convenient, and it makes it so I don’t have to take a giant handful of pills.”

    Natural Factors CurcuminRich Theracurmin 300 mg
    “I take this for just general all over health support. The research on Theracurmin is compelling regarding its wide reaching anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Curcumin is also a fantastic herb for liver support."

    Peter Lamas Rice Protein Volumizing Shampoo
    “This shampoo/conditioner gives my hair incredible volume without leaving any build-up! I can't live without it!”

    Acure Lemongrass & Argan Oil Firming Lotion
    “I love all the Acure lotions, but this is my favorite. I love the fresh scent and its long-lasting moisturizing action!”

    Acure Argan Cell Stimulating Body Wash
    “Features a super-light scent and moisturizing feel without leaving any residue on your skin.”

    Anything from W3LL PEOPLE
    “A fantastic makeup line. I love the fun eyeshadow shades and that it’s one of the cleanest makeup lines on the market!”

  • Brain Health Questions: How does stress affect brain health?

    Our webinar with Dr. Bruce Price on July 27 sparked some interesting questions on brain health from our participants. Since Dr. Price wasn't able to answer all of them during the webinar, we thought we'd tackle some common ones here. These answers come from Dr. Haythum Tayeb, a behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry fellow in Dr. Price's department of neurology at McLean Hospital.

    Q. How does stress affect brain health?

    A. Stress, anxiety and depression can all negatively influence cognitive performance because of their effects on attention and concentration. Stress activates the cortisol system, which has specific effects on the brain.

    Maintaining an active social and mental life is associated with better cognitive outcomes, however, and stress avoidance should not lead to an attitude of intellectual retirement. Seeking to remain intellectually active, and engaging in a motivating endeavor that does not induce pathological stress can increase cognitive reserve, which buffers cognitive dysfunction later in life.

    The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  • Brain health questions: Is there a connection between ADHD & Alzheimer's?

    Our webinar with Dr. Bruce Price on July 27 sparked some interesting questions on brain health from our participants. Since Dr. Price wasn't able to answer all of them during the webinar, we thought we'd tackle some common ones here. These answers come from Dr. Haythum Tayeb, a behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry fellow in Dr. Price's department of neurology at McLean Hospital.

    Q. Is there a connection between ADHD & Alzheimer’s?

    A. There is no known direct connection between Alzheimer’s and childhood ADHD. There have been recent early reports of an association between adult ADHD and risk of Alzheimer’s, though this association needs to be confirmed. It may be that the symptoms of early dementia, often subtle, can be mistakenly attributed to adulthood ADHD in people with a previous history of the disorder. A potential explanation for the association, should it be proven, is that ADHD may lead to a lower cognitive reserve to buffer insults later in life, or that there could be an unidentified overlap between the genetic and environmental factors causing both disorders.

    The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  • Brain Health Questions: How can I reverse memory loss?

    Our webinar with Dr. Bruce Price on July 27 sparked some interesting questions on brain health from our participants. Since Dr. Price wasn't able to answer all of them during the webinar, we thought we'd tackle some common ones here. These answers come from Dr. Haythum Tayeb, a behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry fellow in Dr. Price's department of neurology at McLean Hospital.

    Q. Once someone is already experiencing memory loss, is there anything that can stop or reverse the process?

    A. It depends on the cause and pattern of memory dysfunction. There are different memory systems in the brain and these systems can be affected by a number of pathological processes. While some of these processes are completely reversible and others are definitely amenable to modification and improvement, and some are irreversible.

    For example, attention and concentration problems are often felt to cause memory dysfunction, with or without genuine problems in the parts of the brain that store the memories. There are many reversible causes for attention difficulties, including anxiety, depression, medications, inadequate sleep, medical illness and others. Interventions to reverse negative effects of these factors on attention and memory can improve overall memory performance significantly.

    Even in cases where there is a problem in the memory-storage system itself, the cause is not always irreversible. A medical and neurological evaluation is required to search for the treatable causes of amnesia, which include vascular, nutritional, infectious and endocrine, medical and inflammatory problems.

    Furthermore, early cases of memory problems (amnestic mild cognitive impairment), do not always progress to Alzheimer's disease, and sometimes actually reverse spontaneously. Alzheimer's disease, while a common cause for memory problems, is certainly not the only one. In cases of probable Alzheimer's disease, a multi-lateral effort to improve memory and functioning is often very helpful. Factors that can potentially help for variable periods of time include physical exercise, maintaining a reasonable degree of mental and social activities, having an adequate diet, treating depression, and making sure medical and sleep problems are treated appropriately. While there are medications that can temporarily improve symptoms,  none are yet available for clinical use to delay, stop or reverse the process. A large area of research is however progressing promisingly in pursuit of this goal.

    The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  • Upcoming webinar with Dr. Bruce Price

    Interested in what you can be doing preventively to keep your brain and memory going strong as you age? Pharmaca is proud to be hosting a free webinar with Dr. Bruce Price of our Integrative Health Advisory Board.

    Boost Your Brain:
    How to maintain good memory and cognitive function as you age

    Wednesday, July 20, 11am PDT/12pm MDT

    Join Dr. Bruce Price, associate professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, as he offers expert advice on supplements and lifestyle changes to keep your brain working smarter at any age.

    Register now and submit your questions! Everyone who attends will receive $10 good toward future shopping purchases in stores and online.

    REGISTER NOW!

  • Ask a Practitioner: How can I naturally lower my cholesterol?

    We get questions nearly every day via Ask a Practitioner from people with a variety of health concerns. Our practitioners take turns answering these questions, offering advice based on their experience and expertise. Every now and then we post some of these questions with the hopes that our practitioners' advice can help answer some of your health questions.

    Q. I've been taking Lipitor to lower my cholesterol, but I'm worried about the side effects. What are some natural options to cholesterol control?

    A. There are many natural solutions to high cholesterol. With that being said, you should always consult with your doctor before going off a medication so they can be informed and lower your doses appropriately. If you were to safely go off Lipitor, there are many dietary and supplement recommendations that you can try.

    The first recommendation I always start with is fiber, since increasing your dose of daily fiber is essential to good lipid health. Another dietary recommendations is including one serving of soy per day in your diet. Garlic also has very beneficial effects for cholesterol.

    Some common supplements that can be beneficial are Red Yeast Rice, B vitamins, policosanols, artichoke and plant sterols. We sell a product at Pharmaca called Meta-sitosterol 2.0 by Metagenics, which contains only the plant sterols in high doses. Another one of my favorites is Cho-Less by Natura. There are many formulas of herbs and nutrients that combine all of these ingredients together that can be very effective.

    After you consult with your physician, stop by one of our locations and a practitioner can help you select a few products that would be best for you.
    -Shannon Wood, Naturopath, San Francisco

    The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

  • Practitioner of the Month: Erik A., Naturopathic Doctor

    Because Pharmaca stores are staffed with such unique practitioners--from acupuncturists to herbalists to naturopaths, every month we like to highlight one who is particularly great at their job. Our June practitioner of the month is Dr. Erik A., naturopathic doctor at our store Madison Park, Seattle, store.

    Dr. Erik graduated in 2002 from Bastyr University in Seattle, Wash., and has been in private practice since 2003. His treatment modalities include herbal medicine, clinical nutrient therapy, diet and lifestyle counseling, homeopathy and craniosacral therapy.

    "Dr. Erik is at once an especially knowledgeable practitioner and a humble student, vigorously continuing to learn, research, and grow as a healer," says John, store manager at Madison Park. "Dr. Erik’s sincere concern with the wellbeing of our community, combined with his quite dry sense of humor, make him the perfect 'go-to' physician and source for wellness here in Madison Park."

    Thanks for all of your hard work, Erik!

    If you have a practitioner you'd like to recognize, email us with your recommendation.

  • Whooping cough vaccinations now available

    If you live in California, you probably know that cases of whooping cough have dramatically increased over the last 50 years. Also know as pertussis, whooping cough now affects an estimated 7,800 people in California alone (via Huffington Post).

    As a result, last year the California legislature enacted a law that requires students in grades 7-12 to prove that they've been vaccinated before the next school year.

    All of Pharmaca's California locations are now offering walk-in immunizations for whooping cough. The immunizations are just $49, far lower than most other pharmacies.

    To find out more about immunizations at your local Pharmaca, call your local store.

  • Practitioner of the Month: Karin D, Wellness Counselor

    Because Pharmaca stores are staffed with such unique practitioners--from acupuncturists to herbalists to naturopaths, every once in awhile we like to highlight one who is particularly great at their job. Our practitioner of the month is Karin D., wellness counselor and assistant manager at our store in south Boulder, Colo.

    Says Leslie, store manager at South Boulder: “Karin is an exceptional practitioner.  She is very knowledgeable and we have many customers returning to our store on a consistent basis to report how much she has helped them.”

    Before coming to Pharmaca, Karin practiced as a naturopath in Germany, where she specialized in herbs, homeopathy and Kneipp hydrotherapy. She also has an M.A. in psychology.

    Leslie adds that Karin is a wonderful model of Pharmaca's integrative approach. “Karin goes the extra mile to ensure the health care needs of our customers are met," says Leslie. "She frequently does consultations with our pharmacists to ensure that customers needs and concerns have been addressed.”

    Congratulations, Karin!

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