Tag Archives: prod-470657

  • Your Pre-Travel Checklist

    Traveling-HealthWhether you're piling in the minivan to visit family or jetting overseas, a little prep work—and stocking up on essentials—can make traveling a breeze this summer.

    Check to see if you need vaccinations
    Many international destinations require or recommend travel immunizations. A Pharmaca pharmacist can help you identify which vaccinations you need based on your destination, and administer them in the store.

    Our pharmacists can also give you information on other safety and health considerations at your destination. Just call ahead to request your pre-travel consultation and vaccines a few days ahead of time. Learn more about pre-travel vaccinations at Pharmaca >

    Stock your travel first aid kit
    Getting sick when you're away from home can be no fun. Dr. Sarah Ouano, ND, at our Madison Park store in Seattle, talks about the travel essentials she often recommends.

    "The biggest thing in travel is prepping your body for new foods," Sarah says. That's where probiotics come in. She recommends Saccharomyces Boulardii, a strain that has been shown to prevent traveler's diarrhea; Jarrow Formulas' version is especially helpful, she says, because it combines the strain with MOS, an oligosaccharide that helps remove bad bacteria.

    She also recommends giving yourself a little immunity boost while traveling, especially if you're going to be on crowded planes and trains. "My favorite thing right now is Kick-Ass Immune from WishGarden Herbs," Sarah says.

    If you're prone to motion sickness or nausea, Sarah loves Ginger People's Ginger Chews. "They're spicy, which is what's helpful for the stomach," she says. "You need the punch in the mouth to get the salivation going." She also likes to keep WishGarden Herbs' Mo Betta Belly on hand. "It helps with anything digestively, since it's chock full of carminitives like peppermint, ginger, fennel and catnip."

    For jet lag, Sarah recommends a combination homeopathic remedy like Miers Laboratories' No Jet Lag, which can help reset your circadian rhythm when taken throughout your flight. Later, when you're headed for bed, Sarah recommends Deep Sleep by Herbs, Etc. "You do have to take it as directed—one hour before bed and one at bedtime," she says. "But it will knock you out throughout the night!"

    Pack some healthy snacks
    Leave the temptation of candy and soda behind when you keep healthy, satisfying snacks on hand. Natural energy bars, refreshing coconut waters and organic trail mixes are the perfect pick-me-up when a healthy meal is out of reach. And for a sweet treat, grab one of our delicious Pharmaca brand Chocolate Bars, Rainforest Alliance and non-GMO certified.

    Talk to a Pharmaca practitioner about the best supplements and strategies for your destination!

  • Travel First Aid: Help for Every Travel Ailment

    Traveling-HealthThe new sights, the sunny beaches, the great food…Travel can be exciting, but even the most experienced travelers need a little help now and then. Here’s our roundup of common travel ailments—and natural remedies that can get you back to enjoying your vacation!

    The Problem: Jet lag

    It happens when we fly across different time zones, causing a disruption in our sleep/wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). Changing time zones rapidly can cause disruptions in falling asleep, staying asleep or staying awake.

    The Solutions

    Melatonin is the hormone our bodies make to regulate the sleep/wake cycle, so taking  extra in a supplement form may help to reset the sleep/wake cycle disrupted from jet lag. Research has shown that melatonin can aid sleep at times when you wouldn’t normally be sleeping. Good brands to try include Source Naturals, Natural Factors, Jarrow Formulas and Pharmaca. Regular doses usually range between 1-5mg.

    NO-JET-LAG (from Miers Laboratory) is a well-loved and trusted homeopathic travel companion. It is safe, easy to take and has been proven effective in tests. A blend of five homeopathic remedies (arnica, daisy, chamomile, ipecac and lycopodium) helps counter the effects of pressure changes and the debilitating effects of long flights.

    The Problem: Travel anxiety

    Many people experience anxiety around travel, whether it’s fear of flying, fear of where you are going, changing your regular daily routine, fear of leaving home or missing loved ones and animals.

    The Solutions

    L-Theanine is a unique amino acid found in green tea that supports mental calmness and relaxation by increasing dopamine and GABA in the brain. L-theanine assists the alpha brainwaves associated with relaxation, without any drowsiness. Brands to try include Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas and Natural Factors.

    Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower Essences is a gentle formula to help center your emotions when you’re experiencing situational distress. Rescue Remedy is a blend of five flower essences that assist with emotional stress from illness, fright, injury, travel fatigue and irritation.

    Emotional Ally by WishGarden Herbs is formulated to help you cope with temporary anxiety, restlessness and irritability. With herbs like passionflower, skullcap and motherwort, it helps you to re-center yourself and feel relief from travel anxiety.


    The Problem: Motion sickness

    Also known as travel, car, sea or airsickness, it happens when visually perceived motion is different from your vestibular system’s sense of movement. The most common symptoms are dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

    The Solutions

    PSI Bands are adjustable wristbands that apply acupressure to help relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Acupressure works by stimulating the body’s self-curative abilities.

    Ginger can help with nausea associated with motion sickness. Try New Chapter’s Ginger Force or Jarrow Formulas, Herb Pharm or Pharmaca brand Ginger.

    Peppermint can also help with nausea associated with motion sickness. Try Herb Pharm’s Breath Tonic or Enzymatic Therapy’s Peppermint Plus.

    Homeopathic Gelsemium Sempervire 30c is also indicated in motion sickness.


    The Problem: Travelers’ Diarrhea

    This one is common for a few reasons—one being that you are simply drinking water you’re not used to drinking. Another reason may be that the water is not thoroughly treated at your destination. The microbial balance in the digestive tract may be easily disturbed during travel, so it’s important to plan ahead and supplement with probiotics to give the immune and digestive tract a head start.

    The Solutions

    Start taking a good probiotic a few weeks before your departure to build up healthy colonies of friendly flora. Some specific probiotic strains are more effective at helping with travelers’ diarrhea, but remember that many probiotic formulas require refrigeration. Try Florastor, made with S. boulardii, Jarrow Formulas’ Jarro-Dophilus EPS or Dr. Ohirra’s—all of which are excellent products that do not require refrigeration.

    If possible, stick with bottled water from a trusted supplier, and use methods of sterilization when necessary (i.e. plan ahead for boiling, water cleansing tabs or filtration).

    The Problem: Decreased Immunity

    Cramped airplanes and foreign bacteria can take advantage of anyone’s immune system. That’s why it’s a good idea to start building your immunity several weeks before your trip.

    The Solutions

    WishGarden Herbs’ Kick-Ass Immune is formulated to activate a healthy immune response and emphasizes respiratory health, which is especially important when flying in airplanes. It’s handy for travel in 1 or 2 oz sizes.

    Perfect Immune by New Chapter is a probiotic, whole-food multivitamin that provides comprehensive support for immune and natural defenses.

    New Chapter LifeShield Immunity is an awesome blend of medicinal mushrooms packed with beta glucans that help potentiate and modulate the immune system.

    Also, don’t forget to wash your hands often and disinfect when traveling. I like sanitizers by CleanWell, EO and Dr. Bronner’s.


    The Problem: Sunburn

    Because travel destinations are often at a higher elevation, near water, closer to the equator or sunnier than where you are coming from, sunburn can be inevitable. Make sure you wear a hat, stay out of the sun during peak hours and reapply a good mineral sunscreen. And if you do get burnt, here are ways to beat the heat.

    The Solutions

    To treat sunburn, try All Terrain’s Aloe Gel Skin Relief with healing herbs, Boericke and Tafel’s Califlora Calendula Gel or Boiron’s First Aid Calendula Lotion. And after being out in the sun all day, remember to stay hydrated with electrolytes. Coconut water is an easy way to get them, but Ultima Replenisher or Trace Minerals’ Electrolyte Stamina are powdered electrolyte drink mixes that are great for travel.

    The Problem: Sleeplessness

    Whether it’s jet lag or loud hotel neighbors, there are a variety of ways to combat sleeplessness.

    The Solutions

    Herb Pharm’s Relaxing Sleep Tonic is an herbal blend with valerian, sold in a small 1 oz bottle that’s convenient for travel.

    Deep Sleep by Herbs, Etc. is designed to help with difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep or for low-quality sleep.

    Sleep Formula by Pharmaca, containing melatonin, 5HTP and L-theanine, has worked well for many people.

    Magnesium is great to take before bed to promote relaxation and calmness. Try Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm, Pure Essence’s Ionic Fizz or Kal’s Magnesium Glycinate.

    You may also want to try an eye mask and/or earplugs to block out unwanted sounds or sights. The Bucky Forty Blinks Eye Mask is one of my favorites because it’s contoured to relieve pressure against the eyes.


    The Problem: Digestive issues

    Different foods, whether they’re too rich or just something you’re not used to eating, can also play a big part in the health of your digestive system.

    The Solutions

    Chewable Papaya Enzymes help promote healthy digestion by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins. Try Pharmaca brand or Natural Factors’ Chewable Papaya Enzymes. (Plus they’re delicious!)

    Bring along more potent digestive enzymes in case you’re headed somewhere where you know the food is more challenging for your digestion. I like Megazymes by MegaFood, Digest Gold or Digest Spectrum by Enzymedica, Advanced Enzyme System by Rainbow Light or Complete Digestion by Enzyme Science.

    Probiotics are always recommended when traveling to promote a healthy immune system and optimal digestion (see Traveler’s Diarrhea for shelf-stable recommendations). Begin taking probiotics a few weeks before travel to allow time for colonization in the gut. A belly with a powerful amount of microbial flora will protect you against harmful bacteria and viruses, helping you to stay strong and healthy during your travels.

    WishGarden Digestive Bitters can help balance the pH of the stomach and ease an acidic tummy. Supports healthy digestive response and enzymes.

    Hyland’s Upset Stomach is a homeopathic, charcoal-based formula designed to relieve gas and bloating from overeating or improper diet. Safe for adults and children.

    UrgentRx Heartburn Relief comes in pocket-sized packets designed for easy transport, featuring 1000 mg of calcium carbonate for fast-acting relief of heartburn, acidic stomach and acid indigestion on the go, with or without liquid.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for solutions to travel problems not listed here.

  • Demystifying the Flu

    Want to help prevent the flu? First you need to know a little about how flu and your body work. The flu is a viral infection that often occurs in the winter, for several reasons—because we don't get much exposure to sunlight and are often deficient in vitamin D, because we’re indoors consistently (and therefore passing around more germs) and because we’re more vulnerable to extreme changes in temperature.

    Infections first begin when you’re exposed to the virus through the secretions of coughs and sneezes of an already infected person. The virus then enters yourbody through the nose, eyes, throat and/or bronchial tubes and attaches itself to a cell wall there. It’s important to note that a virus is technically not a live organism, but rather a tiny particle that can only multiply within live cells. The virus particles must attack and take over the machinery of a host cell by injecting its own DNA, and diverting the work of the cell’s enzymes to its own duplication.

    Once the virus is fortified, it then kills the original host cell and is released into your system via the bloodstream. As this happens, the majority of flu symptoms begin. The lymph swells and the virus travels through the circulatory system, attaching to muscle cells and causing aches and pains. The immune system responds with inflammation, mucus and fatigue.

    While these symptoms may feel uncomfortable, they’re not necessarily bad for you. One great example of the vast intelligence of the body is that it responds to the infection by increasing the body temperature—creating a fever that helps fight the infection by slowing down the down the rate of viral reproduction. This immune response continues until the viruses are eliminated from the body and the lymph completes the purification of debris, dead cells, pathogens and waste.

    So how you do start feeling better?

    First, support your immune response instead of suppressing it, and you’ll move quickly through dis-ease and discomfort. Likewise, the sooner you take action against an infection, the easier it is to minimize its effects.

    The first 12-18 hours of the flu offers a window of opportunity to potentially stop the attack. At this stage, use herbs that support lymph and circulation and stimulate the immune response—like echinacea, stephania, yarrow, elderberry and flower and osha. Eat healthfully, and get to bed early. Products to try: Plantiva’s ImmuneDx, WishGarden Herbs' Kick-Ass Immune and Gaia Herbs’ Black Elderberry Syrup.

    If you didn’t catch it in time, it’s okay! But don’t suppress a fever right away. The fever is your body’s way to decrease viral duplication and encourage you to rest. At this stage you should focus on killing microbes, draining the lymph and moderating inflammation with herbs like garlic, cleavers, elderberry and elderflower, lemon balm and olive leaf extract. Products to try: Plantiva’s ColdDx, WishGarden Herbs' Lymph Mover or WishGarden Herbs' Kick-Ass Heroes (including Kick-Ass Immune, Biotic and Sinus, for all stages of illness). If you’re very uncomfortable, you can at least reduce inflammation and fever with natural or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.

    Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water to flush out the body and loosen secretions (try coconut water or pure water, like from Eldorado Springs). To reduce discomfort from the fever, soak your feet in cool water and/or use a cool compress on your forehead. If the fever or aches are unbearable, consider herbal anti-inflammatories like New Chapter’s Zyflamend and sip chamomile, peppermint or elderflower tea or tincture.

    Continue to assist your lymph system and support your circulation. Add a hot cup of ginger tea to your regimen. Try gentle movement like stretching and hot baths to help move lymph, support circulation and ease discomfort. Try a bath with a half-cup baking soda (to alkalize, calm and deodorize) and 2 cups Epsom salts to cleanse the lymphatics, relax sore muscles and soften skin.

    Get plenty of rest. This means both physically and emotionally! Too much exercise can actually place more stress on your body and suppress your immune system. Limit activity to a simple walk if you’re coming down with a cold, since small amounts of exercise will facilitate lymph movement and circulation.

    Avoid milk products, grains and sugar, all of which can promote mucus and inflammation and deplete the immune system. Avoid alcohol and restrict chemical over-the-counter medications that suppress symptoms (sometimes half an adult dose can ease symptoms!).

    Stay home to avoid infecting others, and wash your hands and linens frequently. Small measures like these help prevent the virus from spreading to your community and family. Keep hand sanitizers, like those from Dr. Bronner’s or CleanWell, close at hand.

    If you do have the flu, take the time to take good care of yourself and remember that your health is a priority. Feel better soon!

  • Cold and Flu Relief Now

    You probably already know the ins and out of boosting your immunity. But what happens when you just can’t escape cold and flu season? Take comfort in these remedies that can speed the recovery process.

    First, the basics. “The average cold runs 5-7 days, but you can get back on your feet more quickly if you take your herbs, get good sleep and drink lots of water,” says Nancy Brillault, herbalist at our Carlsbad, Calif. store. “Watch your food intake as well, since you don’t want your digestive system working overtime when the immune system is really what needs help.” Instead, opt for hydrating drinks and soups and other simple foods that are easy to digest. It’s also a good idea to avoid dairy, she says, since that can boost mucus production.

    If you’re prone to colds, Nancy recommends taking maintenance doses of two things during cold and flu season: 1-2 tablets of Source Naturals Wellness Formula (“It’s been around forever for a reason!” she says) and 1 Oil of Oregano capsule (try Pharmaca brand or Gaia Herbs). Together they’ll help minimize your chance for sickness.

    Once cold symptoms rear their ugly heads, Nancy recommends getting started on Rainbow Light’s Counter Attack to boost immunity quickly. “But if you already have more serious symptoms, New Chapter’s Sinus Take Care—which really covers the whole respiratory system—can shorten the duration.” She’s also a big fan of WishGarden’s Kick-Ass Immune at the start of symptoms. Just make sure you take it as recommended, she says, 2-3 droppersful every couple hours.

    Sore throat
    “Infection usually starts in the throat,” says Nancy. “So if you can get the bacteria or virus knocked out in the throat, the sickness won’t be as severe in the rest of the body.” She likes Honey Gardens’ Propolis Throat Spray, which combines raw honey with soothing herbs, or Natura’s Throat and Gland Spray. For someone with very early symptoms of a sore throat, often when the pain is radiating to the ears, she also recommends a homeopathic remedy called Phytolacca Decandra.

    For coughing, Nancy often recommends Gaia Herbs’ Respiratory Defense because it combines herbs with essential oils, which can be really healing, she says. “I’ll often recommend inhaling vapors from eucalyptus essential oil, or Pharmaca’s Breathe Clear blend. “Put a drop or two in your bathtub, and as soon as you’re done put the diluted oil on your warm skin.” You can also add it to a foot soak, she says, since things are absorbed really quickly through the feet.

    “I also love Planetary Herbals’ Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup,” says Nancy. “It’s really good for coughs as well as all the cold symptoms.” For homeopathic remedies, Nancy turns to homeopathic Drosera Rotundifolia for dry, non-productive hacking coughs, or Spongia Tosta for more wet, productive coughs.

    “If the cough hangs on, or if you’re prone to that chronic coughing, then the Deep Lung by WishGarden is amazing,” Nancy says.

    Sniffles and sneezes
    Aside from stocking up on tissues—and Weleda Skin Food to soothe chapped skin around the nose—Nancy often recommends WishGarden’s Kick-Ass Sinus to both support immunity and fight respiratory infections. But she also loves homeopathic remedies for these symptoms. “Hydrastis Canadensis is homeopathic and really good for post-nasal drip,” she says. She also recommends homeopathic Kali Bichromicum for when the mucus is really thick.

    Aches and chills
    “You generally know you have flu pretty quickly when you’ve got these symptoms,” says Nancy. “So you definitely want to take Oscillococcinum right away.” This homeopathic remedy has been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms, and can even be taken half a vial at a time, once in the morning and once at night.

    One last word of advice? “Just slow down.” says Nancy. “A lot of people get sick because of stress, so I think sometimes just slowing down a little bit can give your body the rest it needs.”

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