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  • What to Pack: Natural Travel Staples

    You've saved up your vacation hours, booked your flights and packed your favorite books. But have you prepared for the possibility of illness? From crowded airplanes to musty old buildings, vacation destinations also come with a variety of travel concerns. We asked Clare Bauermeister, naturopathic doctor at our Seattle-Wallingford store, to help us prep for any travel eventuality.

    Jet Lag

    "People going to another time zone can really benefit from a sleep aid like melatonin," says Clare. "My favorite is Natural Factors Tranquil Sleep, which also includes 5-HTP and L-Theanine." Clare says you can take these chewables before a long plane flight, or just to help alter sleep patterns to combat jet lag. She said people also have good results with Boiron homeopathic Jet Lag Carekit. And rest easier with the addition of Bucky's travel neck pillows and eye masks, available in stylish prints.


    Eating outside of your comfort zone—whether it's Chicago's deep dish pizza or real German bratwurst—can cause digestive discomforts. To help your body cope, Clare suggests a travel-ready probiotic and a good digestive enzyme. "I always recommend taking a probiotic with you," she says, such as the shelf-stable ones from Culturelle. "It's one of the most highly studied strains of acidophilus for helping prevent and treat traveler's diarrhea." Take these and an enzyme such as Tyler's Similase throughout your vacation, or just when you know a heavy meal is looming. (Click here for more handy digestion suggestions.)

    Sea and Airsickness

    If your travels are taking you out to sea (or even just on a bumpy plane ride), and you're prone to bouts of nausea, take comfort in the stylish designs of Psi Nausea Relief Bands. The bands use adjustable acupressure to calm nausea, offering relief without drugs. "My other favorite thing, for any sort of nausea, is ginger," says Clare. She recommends tucking Reed's Ginger Chews in your purse or carry-on for quick relief.


    From trains to planes to tourist destinations, exposure to crowds can do a number on our immune systems. Start boosting before you take off with Source Naturals Wellness Formula tablets, or WishGarden Kick-Ass Immune herbal tincture. Clare also recommends keeping your nasal passages hydrated with a wash like Xlear Saline Nasal Wash. "When your nose is dried out you often have less protection from microbes, so keep it moisturized," says Clare.

    Respiratory Problems

    As charming as those medieval castles and rural bed and breakfasts are, damp weather and musty buildings can also lead to respiratory problems. If you know you're likely to have trouble breathing, consider Gaia Herbs Respiratory Defense, which Clare says is a great herbal formula that includes oregano, a natural anti-fungal that's good for mildew. For more long-term care, Clare recommends taking Herbs, Etc. Lung Tonic on a continual basis.


    What would vacation be without a little sunburn? Even if you're not headed to the beach, it's good to keep your skin protected whenever you'll be outside. "I love Sanitas Solar Block," says Clare, who always recommends mineral sunblocks. "And of course, reapply, reapply, reapply." When sunburns do strike, however, soothe skin with healing products like All Terrain Aloe Skin Repair or Boiron Calendula Cream. "I like calendula cream for any type of skin condition."

    Stop in to Pharmaca today to stock up on necessities for your next vacation. And thanks to our Facebook fans for contributing their top travel concerns. Want to join the discussion? Like us on Facebook today.

  • Your Holiday Survival Kit

    Ah, the holidays. Full of family, good cheer, rich food and for many, busy schedules and stressful travel. We spoke with Jenna Zampiello, naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist at Seattle's Madison Park location, about ways to keep yourself healthy and less stressed during this exciting time of year.

    Travel healthy
    When we're traveling and coming into contact with a lot of people, it's a good idea to give your immune system a little extra help. Jenna suggests packing an antibacterial gel or spray, like EO's Hand Sanitizer Spray, especially if you're traveling during flu season. She also recommends eating a healthy, low-carb breakfast on travel day, then eating smaller meals throughout the day. "Most people feel significantly better if they actually fast during travel time, abstaining from consuming the prepared airport meals that are high in fat and salt," says Jenna.

    Jenna also recommends staying hydrated by drinking at least one 8 oz glass per hour while flying, and mixing in some Emergen-C to add immunity-boosting vitamins and electrolytes. Other travel essentials include Jet Zone, a homeopathic formula to prevent jet lag and Reed's Ginger Candy or homeopathic Tabacum 30c to help settle an upset stomach.

    Maintain good immunity
    For continuous immune support Jenna also suggests keeping up a maintenance dose of New Chapter's Lifeshield Immunity, a medicinal mushroom-based formula offering a potent source of beta glucans which help to upregulate immune cells required to fight bacteria, viruses and cancer. Mushrooms not only stimulate your immune system, but have also been shown to help maintain normal cholesterol levels.

    Another quality immune support formula is Source Naturals' Wellness Formula. "You can take it every day, and if you feel like you're coming down with something, take the maximum dose of three tablets several times a day," says Jenna. She also recommends our best-selling homeopathic remedy, Boiron's Oscillococcinum, which can be taken at the onset of any type of flu symptoms.

    Keep stress at bay
    Most everyone can use extra adrenal support, says Jenna, since our bodies are not equipped to deal with chronic stress, and, let's face it, "everyone is stressed out during the holidays," she says. She recommends Gaia Herbs' Adrenal Health, which can serve as a preventive measure, giving you more energy and preventing fatigue. For more immediate relief, sip a cup of Yogi's Kava Stress Relief tea (or "make a big pot for the whole family if you need to!" says Jenna). If the holiday stress becomes too much, try Bach Rescue Remedy, available in easy-to-pack sprays, pastilles and drops.

    Maintain a healthy weight
    Boosting your adrenal health can also be helpful for maintaining a healthy weight, says Jenna, since it can help normalize your cortisol response. But it's also important to keep blood sugar levels stable during the holiday season. "Make sure you have protein for every meal, especially breakfast, since this helps to stabilize and regulate your metabolism for the rest of the day," she says. She recommends snacks like an apple with almond butter, hummus and carrots or trail mix that includes both nuts and fruit (try Pharmaca's Antioxidant Trail Mix). If you need a whole meal replacement on the go, try a packet of protein powder like Vega's Whole Food Health Optimizer, which can be easily added to water or juice while traveling.

    It's important to note that the winter season itself can create its own weight-gain challenges, since a lot of people eat more because of lower serotonin levels due to shorter days, says Jenna. You can boost those levels by maintaining a healthy dose of vitamin D. In the Pacific Northwest, that's especially difficult, so Jenna recommends a dose of 4,000 IU throughout the winter season ("Everyone should have their vitamin D levels checked at least once a year to ensure adequate dosage," Jenna says).  She likes Pharmaca's liquid Vitamin D3.

    Boost healthy digestion
    Finally, when rich foods abound, avoid heartburn and indigestion by packing a few simple products. "Enzymedica's Digest Gold is one of the best enzymes we have," says Jenna, for helping support digestion of holiday meals. She also likes chewable papaya enzymes, both of which can be taken during a meal. You can also support your digestion after a meal by sipping a cup of Traditional Medicinals' Eater's Digest Tea. "It contains a number of medicinal herbs that help stimulate your digestion should you feel bloated or sluggish after a meal," says Jenna. "It is a good standby should you happen to overindulge and eat too much."

    For more recommendations on facing holiday health challenges, speak with a Pharmaca practitioner today.

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