Pharmaca Blog

  • Muscle Aches? Try Essential Oils for Pain

    Aches and pains got you down? If you’ve already run the gamut of prescription and over-the-counter medications, you may want try essential oils for pain and muscle aches. Essential oils, extracted from plants, flowers and trees, have powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (i.e. pain-relieving) properties. Essential oils also act as a detoxifying agent. Menstrual cramps, sports injuries and joint pain can all be treated safely and naturally with essential oils.

    Because essential oils are too concentrated to put directly on the skin, they have to be blended with carrier oils such as grapeseed or almond (bonus: these oils also help moisturize the skin). You can also add diluted essential oils to bath water or soak a washcloth in warm water and essential oils and place on the body at the site of the pain.

    Some popular essential oils to try for pain relief include chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, birch. So how do you use them? Here are some essential oils recipes for pain relief:

    • General muscle aches: Combine 5 drops lavender, 4 drops marjoram and 3 drops rosemary with 30 ml of a carrier oil in a hot bath
    • PMS pain: Blend 5 drops clary sage, 5 drops geranium and 5 drops chamomile oil. Rub in a clockwise direction as you massage into the affected area
    • Menstrual cramps: Blend 4 drops jasmine, 4 drops clary sage and 2 drops lavender with 5 tsp sweet almond oil. Massage in the abdominal region and around the lower back
    • Stomach cramps: Add 2 drops cardamom, 2 drops basil and 3 drops marjoram to 2 tsp of carrier oil and massage over stomach and abdomen

    Want to get started with your essential oil arsenal? Check out Pharmaca’s extensive line of essential oils for pain relief.

  • Attention Boulder: Drug Take-Back Coming Soon

    For all of our customers in Boulder, Colo.: The city's annual Pharmaceutical Drop-off Day is coming up! Instead of tossing your unused or expired medication, take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to properly dispose of your prescriptions and keep them out of our water supply. Bring your unused or expired medications to Boulder Community Foothills Hospital (4747 Arapahoe) on Saturday, September 24, between 8am and 1pm.

    If you're outside of Boulder, visit the Drug Take-Back Network website to find out about local efforts in your city. Or, read more about proper prescription disposal. Our earth will thank you!

  • About Juice Beauty's Organic Philosophy

    Karen Behnke, Founding Partner and CEO of Juice Beauty tells the story behind one of Pharmaca’s best-selling beauty brands!

    Coming into the beauty industry through my passion for eco-chic living and the healthy lifestyles industry has given me a unique perspective on the Beauty industry resulting in some innovative and amazing products.

    By the time I turned 40, I had been professionally and personally focused on fitness, wellness, nutrition and eco-living for almost 20 years, yet I didn't read an ingredient label on any personal care product until I became pregnant with my first child at age 40! At this point I really needed age-defying and blemish-clearing products, but I couldn’t find any powerful ingredients that were also healthful for me and for the environment.

    When I started researching and reading product labels, I was astounded to learn that, although the skin absorbs over 60 percent of what is placed on it, there were very few available healthy personal care products that worked well. I subsequently bought the name “Juice Beauty” and launched the company, with our first products entering Pharmaca in 2007. Alaina Thompson, who leads our business with Pharmaca, and the rest of our team was incredibly excited about partnering with Pharmaca because they were one of the few retailers that recognized and cared that we were one of the only brands that is authentically organic yet powerfully efficacious.

    The guiding principles behind the partnership were centered on Juice Beauty’s efficacy and our organic authenticity…..values that came through to our customers, which pushed Juice Beauty into its place as one of the top-selling brands at Pharmaca.

    Juice Beauty stays on the cutting edge with the three Core Truths that guide our product development:

    1. Clinically Validated Skincare Efficacy:  We strive to make products with the highest efficacy. Our clinically validated age-defying results for our Serums and Peels show a free-radical-scavenging reduction of up to 85 percent. Our new Stem Cellular products have shown an 88 percent reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. And our Blemish Clearing study participants showed a 94 percent marked improvement to complete clearing within four weeks.

    2. Authentically organic: Our antioxidant-packed organic juice base bringing our products’ total organic content up to 98 percent. Juice Beauty meets the rigorous guidelines of the USDA National Organic Program and the California Organic Products Act. To shed some light on this subject, let me review the various seals to guide you in your selection of products:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seal may be carried on products that have 95 to 100 percent organic ingredients (total organic content excluding water). Many Juice Beauty products fall within this category and carry the USDA Organic seal.


    JB Org SealCalifornia Organic Products Act: To use this seal, as Juice Beauty does on every product, the product must meet one of the most rigorous standards in the world. In the State of California, the California Organic Products Act of 2003 (COPA 2003) prohibits the retail sale of any cosmetic product labeled as "organic" unless that product meets the criteria of a minimum of 70 precent organic content excluding water (or fancy names for water!). Any product that does not meet COPA requirements cannot legally be sold in the State of California as "organic." The Department of Health Services has pulled many products from leading beauty companies because of false organic claims; (though DHS personnel are a bit busy, so you’ll still find many falsely labeled organic products on the shelves or “organic cosmetic seals” that really are just creative marketing.Note: If the first ingredient is water (or some fancy name for water, like rose water, hydrosol, or aqua), or if the first ingredient is not organic….these products generally have a total organic content of 10 percent or less.

    Other organic certifications:

    Eco-Cert standards are based on the EU regulatory definition of "organic" which requires that the total organic content total approximately 10 percent. Brands that are claiming to be “certified by EcoCert” do not meet the legal requirements for organic in the U.S.


    This certification was created in 2002 through a collaboration of about 10 laboratories that were paid by various cosmetics companies. To be certified, products must only contain natural (not organic) ingredients, so there is no assurance that they are pesticide-free or made sustainably.

    The Soil Association is a UK-based certifying body that awards its seal to products whose total contents are 70 percent certified organic and the remaining 30 percent is made up of non-toxic, plant-based, GMO-free ingredients which pose no known risk to health or the environment. This requirement is not regulated in North America.


    3.  Leave out any ingredient that could be deemed harmful. Juice Beauty gets powerful action from our organic fruit acids, fat-soluble vitamin C, fruit stem cells, CoQ10, Willow Bark and more. We are always working on reformulating as we find new and more effective ways to preserve and create efficacy.None of our products contain: (methyl, butyl or propyl) parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, artificial dyes or fragrances.

    And finally, let me leave you with some general beauty tips. Use only high-efficacy organic beauty products and don’t strip your skin with chemical peels. Build your wellness and beauty foundation by drinking lots of water, eating healthful organic nutrition, practicing daily exercise, and including lots of love in your life!

    Karen Behnke is the Founding Partner of Juice Beauty and has been a successful serial wellness entrepreneur, marrying her passion for eco-wellness living with business goals for 30 years. Juice Beauty offers an assortment of Age Defying, Blemish Clearing and Daily Essentials regimens, each anchored by hero products including the Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer, patented Green Apple Peel, Antioxidant Serum and SPF Tinted Moisturizers (full-spectrum, non-chemical sun protection). 

  • Juice Beauty's Powerful Stem Cellular Repair Treatments

    Karen Behnke, Founding Partner and CEO of Juice Beauty tells the story behind one of Pharmaca’s best-selling beauty brands!

    Look at these results from Juice Beauty’s new Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer and Eye Treatment and their best-selling, patented Green Apple Peel:

    Before using Stem Cellular Repair After

    Juice Beauty has become known for its peels and serums--powerful products that work well and work quickly. The Green Apple Peel is Juice Beauty's number-one selling product, and was the first Juice Beauty product to receive a patent. (It really helped when several A-list celebrities discovered the Peel and mentioned it when interviewed in major magazines as the brighten, lighten, tighten wonder-drug.) The Green Apple Peel is a powerful hydroxy acid complex from organic malic, tartaric and citric acids that is one of the strongest, yet hydrating, peels on the market. The Peel produces a glowing, clear complexion and minimizes wrinkles, age and sun spots. Many brands have tried to copy Juice Beauty but have not achieved the results.

    Now, Juice Beauty is introducing two new products that provide the perfect union between high tech science and nature.With a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells to complement the authentically organic juice base, Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer and Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment work at the cellular level to repair DNA damage and to increase cellular proliferation, resulting in fewer wrinkles and younger-looking skin.

    Three years in development, Juice Beauty’s scientists utilized a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells, fat-soluble vitamin C and a clinically validated resveratrol-rich organic juice base to produce the Moisturizer and Eye Treatment--providing emarkable results for customers interested in ultimate age defying technology. The Stem Cellular formulations are protected from environmental contamination with high tech airtight pump jars. The Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment’s applicator allows for a gentle massage to help stimulate circulation.

    Now, clinically validated studies show remarkable results in just 6 weeks:

    • 44% decrease in number of fine lines and wrinkles
    • 36% reduction in length and depth of lines and wrinkles
    • 88% reduction in appearance of lines and wrinkles
    • 88% improved skin tone & luminosity
    • 75% improved elasticity of the skin
    • 100% improved hydration


    Karen Behnke is the Founding Partner of Juice Beauty and has been a successful serial wellness entrepreneur, marrying her passion for eco-wellness living with business goals for 30 years. Juice Beauty offers an assortment of Age Defying, Blemish Clearing and Daily Essentials regimens, each anchored by hero products including the Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer, patented Green Apple Peel, Antioxidant Serum and SPF Tinted Moisturizers (full-spectrum, non-chemical sun protection).
  • Nature's Best Medicine: Aloe Vera

    Sprout Along...


    If you've stayed out in the sun too long and gotten a sunburn, you've probably treated the burn with healing, soothing aloe vera. It comes from the aloe vera plant, and has been used to treat many skin and medical conditions. The Chinese refer to aloe vera as the "harmonious remedy," Russians have dubbed it the "elixir of  youth" and the Egyptians named it the "herb of immortality." Originating in North America, the aloe vera plant can now be found practically anywhere that has a warm climate. The active, healing ingredients in aloe vera include vitamins A, B, C and E, folic acid, calcium, selenium, zinc, magnesium and chromium.

    Because of all of these great ingredients, aloe vera has been successfully used to treat medical conditions such as the following:
    •    Sunburn
    •    Skin wounds
    •    Jaundice
    •    Acne
    •    Frostbite
    •    Constipation
    •    Fungal infections
    •    Insect bites
    •    Eczema

    This wonder plant has many other health benefits, including reducing the appearance of warts and rosacea, and helping those with the very painful medical condition known as shingles.

    Please consult your doctor or Pharmaca practitioner before using aloe vera, especially in very small children. People with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), appendicitis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids or ulcers should also avoid aloe vera, as should pregnant woman (as aloe vera may cause premature uterine contractions and subsequent miscarriage).

  • Superfruit: The Health Benefits of Lemon



    Want an easy superfood to incorporate into your diet? Here are a few fabulous ways lemons can be a wonderful overall health aid. Lemons have been used for centuries for their therapeutic benefits, and have even been used as a "cure" for a number of ailments. Lemon not only helps fight infection, but is also known for treatment of sore throat, indigestion, constipation, fever, internal bleeding, burns, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure.

    Lemon also helps to strengthen your immune system and cleanse your stomach. Lemon water and lemonade are thought to help treat kidney stones, cure heart problems and reduce your body's temperature (so there's a reason a nice, cold lemonade actually does make you feel more refreshed on a hot summer day!)

    The health benefits of lemon come from its many nutrients, including vitamin C and B, phosphorous, proteins, carbohydrates and flavonoids (which have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties). Lemon also helps to break a fever by increasing your perspiration, so ingesting lemon juice when you’re sick with the flu may help you feel better much more quickly.

    Another health benefit of lemons? That they aid in dental care. Apply fresh lemon juice to a toothache to lessen the pain, or apply to gums to keep them from bleeding.  Lemon juice has also been known to improve scalp problems, and lemon juice applied to the hair will give it a natural-looking shine. Lemon juice can soothe a sunburn or provide relief from a bee sting.

    The health benefits of lemon are striking. Because lemons are high in antioxidants, they help keep free radicals in check and helps to prevent serious medical conditions such as stroke, many cancers and heart problems. Lemons are known to lower blood pressure and increase your HDL cholesterol (the good stuff). And since lemon acts as an anti-cancer agent, the more lemon in your diet, the less likely you are to develop colon, prostate and breast cancer.

    While you might not want to eat a lemon every day, consider adding it to a cold glass of water or to your cooking. You’ll be amazed at what it can do!

  • Juice Beauty's Eco-Values

    If you think about the fact that more than 60 percent of what you place on your skin is absorbed into your body, doesn't it make sense to use the most pure, organic ingredients on your skin? And why wouldn't you use organic skincare if you knew it worked better than conventional products?

    1. Juice Beauty's mission is to provide clinically validated, authentically organic and pleasurable beauty solutions to people worldwide. That means not only putting the healthiest ingredients (that work!) on people's bodies, but also staying committed to eco values that focus on their products, environment and community.

    By committing to strong relationships with local farms, Juice Beauty can produce products that have not been shipped all over the world prior to making it to the shelves. And by buying ingredients sourced only from the west coast, they can visit their farms, and ensure they are complying with Juice Beauty's high organic standards.

    Juice Beauty's Product Values:

    1. CLINICALLY VALIDATED RESULTS: Juice Beauty achieves efficacy through cutting-edge organic technology. Juice Beauty's Age Defy products showed an 87% reduction in free radical skin damage and a 96% improvement in fine lines and wrinkles in 6 weeks. Our Blemish Clearing products showed 94% complete clearing within 4 weeks.
    2. AUTHENTICALLY ORGANIC: Juice Beauty sets a target standard that all its products should fall within a range of 80 - 98% total organic content. Products must meet the California Organic Products Actminimum of 70% total organic content (excluding water) by using a certified organic base and ingredients.
    3. POWERFUL ACTION WITHOUT: Products stay on the cutting edge of purity by excluding parabens, petroleum, butylene and propylene glycol, PEG, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. And they continue to focus on preservative improvement to remain a leader in clean products.
    4. QUALITY AROMAS: Delicious aromas are achieved from organic and natural essential oils--not synthetic fragrances.

    Juice Beauty's Environmental Values:

    1. BUY LOCAL: Juice Beauty buys the majority of their ingredients locally from the west coast.
    2. SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED: They use only sustainably sourced and/or recycled paper for all supplies, which are then recycled again.
    3. SOLAR-POWERED & GLUTEN-FREE LABS: Juice Beauty manufactures the majority of their products using solar power, and all manufacturing is done in gluten-free labs.
    4. NO ANIMAL TESTING: Juice Beauty never conducts animal testing.

    Juice Beauty's Community Values:

    1. SUPPORT USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMERS: Maintain close relationships with ingredient suppliers.
    2. GIVE BACK. Juice Beauty currently donates a percentage of all profits to the following charities: San Francisco Breast Cancer Fund, The Organic Center, Teens Turning Green, Conservation International and the documentary Miss Representation.
  • Boost Your Exercise Potential with Nature



    We came across an interesting story from Berkeley Wellness about how “green exercise”—as in exercising in nature—can boost the restorative effects of working out. We’re lucky here in Boulder, Colo., to be surrounded by easy (and beautiful!) places to get into nature and take a breather, and we love that doing so can help boost our energy, our mood and our brain power.

    “Studies have found, for instance, that people do better on tests involving memory or attention after trekking through the woods than after walking in a city. People have increased vitality (that is, physical and mental energy) and a greater sense of well-being after walking through a tree-lined river path than after walking indoors. Other studies have even found that patients in hospitals tend to recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows.”

    The story goes on to say that researchers theorize that part of the benefits of green exercise come from the respite we get from everyday life, being able to focus on the sights, sounds and smells around us—without multitasking. Researchers also think that airborne chemicals that are emitted by plants can also play a role.

    So if you’re planning on going for a jog or a bike ride this Labor Day weekend, make it even more beneficial and find some nature to do it in—be it on the seashore, in a forest or even a city park. And don’t forget to breathe deep and enjoy our beautiful earth.

  • Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

    As you know, maintaining good dental health is important for good overall health (especially cardiovascular health)  And a white smile shows you take pride in your appearance--the American Dental Association has even published studies that show that people with a white, bright smile exude confidence, success and even wealth. But you need not spend a fortune to have a healthy white smile. In fact, there are many low-cost, natural ways to whiten teeth that won't even make a dent in your wallet.

    While over-the-counter tooth-whitening kits are plentiful, there is some concern about their chemical ingredients (or the danger of doing it wrong and ending up with painful, too-white teeth). Instead, here are a few safe and natural ways to brighten and white those not-so-pearly whites:

    Eat lots of crunchy foods. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, celery and pears naturally clean and whiten your teeth--the crunchier the food, the more abrasive it will be (abrasive in a good way). If you already eat a healthy, organic diet, try eating your fruits and veggies in their natural state, since it's the crunch that will help your teeth stay white and bright.

    Increase your dairy intake. Cheese, milk, and yogurt all contain calcium and phosphorous, two minerals that enhance the enamel on your teeth. By increasing your intake of grass-fed, organic and raw dairy products, you can strengthen your teeth and improve their whiteness.

    Eat strawberries. Strawberries contain malic acid, which removes discolorations on the teeth and helps buff the enamel, creating a brighter, smoother appearance of the teeth. Try adding a little baking soda to a crushed up strawberry and leaving the mixture on your teeth for a few minutes (it will look and feel like a paste). You'll intensify the effect of the malic acid and benefit even more from the strawberries' natural whitening elements.

    On occasion, use baking soda to whiten and brighten your teeth. Some research shows that periodically mixing baking soda with a little hydrogen peroxide or salt will clean and whiten teeth beautifully.

    Use a straw. Keep staining beverages like coffee, tea, soda and red wine from coming into direct contact with your teeth. Maybe not so easy with your morning coffee, but at least keep a straw handy when you're drinking iced tea or even iced coffees.

    If you have questions about Pharmaca's selection of teeth-whitening products, ask a Pharmaca practitioner for assistance.

  • Back to School Days

    Get your little one prepared to head to school with the right nutrition, brain-boosting supplements and eco-friendly gear.

    8am: Breakfast
    For complete nutrition, send them off with a spoonful of ChildLife Essentials delicious orange/mango-flavored multivitamin. While you’re at it, jump-start their immunity with a dropperful of WishGarden Herbs Kick-It Immune Kids in their morning OJ.

    9am: Off to school
    Fill their backpacks with eco-friendly notebooks and pencils from a variety of brands, along with CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Wipes (triclosan-free!) to keep germs away.

    10am: Recess
    Make sure they’ve been slathered ahead of time with some all-natural sun protection, like the Environmental Working Group’s top-rated Goddess Garden Kid’s Natural Sunscreen. And rest easy when they hydrate with water from a fun, safe and reusable water bottle from Sigg, Lifefactory or EarthLust.

    Noon: Cafeteria
    Fill one of the retro-inspired lunchboxes from So Young Mother with whole foods like apples, carrots and yogurt. “Keep away from processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup,” says Whitney Elkins-Hutten, nutritionist at our North Boulder store. “If you give them healthy options, they’ll take the ones that are most interesting,” she says. She notes that adding stickers to a sandwich bag, or even cutting the sandwich it into fun shapes, can be enough to encourage them to eat well. And in the end, don’t worry if they want to eat the same thing every day. “Kids like routine,” says Whitney. “Just keep trying to introduce new foods slowly.”

    2pm: Snacktime
    When little ones need brainfood, make sure they’ve got a package of Pharmaca’s healthy and delicious snacks. They’ll get a great afternoon pick-me-up with nut and fruit mixes like Organic Protein Power or the Antioxidant-Rich Trail Mix (including cranberries, papaya and raisins).

    And don’t forget the omega-3s! Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Gummies are an easy and tasty way to get the DHA and EPA that growing brains need.

    4pm: Playtime
    Set up your little Picasso with non-toxic art supplies from EcoKids. Colored pencils are made from recycled newspaper, wax and vegetable-derived glue. Or outfit them with recycled crayons from Crazy Crayons.

    6pm: Shower/bathtime
    Lather up with Clean Kids by Gabriel’s Liquid Soap or Foaming Bath to bust germs and gently clean skin. And they’ll enjoy bathtime even more when you turn on Putumayo’s Rock & Roll Playground CD, featuring Dan Zanes and friends doing a kid-friendly version of early rock and roll.

    8pm: Bedtime!
    After a full day of activities, they’ll need to get the best sleep possible to prepare for the next school day. If they have trouble falling asleep, turn to Hyland’s Calms Forte 4 Kids, a well-loved sleep remedy that quells restlessness without making them groggy. You can even switch on Cloud B’s Twilight Turtle and they’ll fall asleep to soft light and starry constellations.

    Good night!

    To get expert advice about your child’s growing needs—or just to pick up some fun gear for school—stop into a Pharmaca today. 

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