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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Holistic Pharmacies: More than Prescriptions

Jan 27, 2017 01:24PM

Nagi Wissa, Registered Pharmacist and owner of Lake Mahopac Pharmacy

When the doctor writes us a prescription or we get the sniffles and want an over-the- counter remedy, most of us head to a traditional pharmacy. What if there was a better option? Three independent pharmacies in our area offer a holistic approach to wellness, in addition to filling conventional prescriptions. Natural Awakenings recently visited these three pharmacies to learn what makes them special.

Putnam County

Lake Mahopac Pharmacy has been providing Putnam’s County’s compounding and holistic needs for more than seven years. This convenient neighborhood establishment is a one-stop shop. “We do everything,” says owner and Registered Pharmacist Nagi Wissa. “We do traditional medicine, such as antibiotics and other prescriptions from your doctor, but we also specialize in homeopathic remedies, natural products and compounding.” For added convenience, the pharmacy offers online prescription renewals and delivery.

Compounding allows Lake Mahopac Pharmacy to provide customized prescriptions, such as hormone replacement therapy and medications for children based on their body weight. “We compound blood thinners for a one-month old baby. We do the calculations and dispense the prescription,” explains Wissa. Compounding is also available for pets with beef, chicken or fi sh fl avoring mixed in.

While the staff at Lake Mahopac Pharmacy support traditional medicine, they are happy to recommend an herbal formula or homeopathic alternative for customers. “When people come in, we give them free advice. If they ask about alternatives to Robitussin, for example, we can recommend a homeopathic cough medicine that works great. We also have natural sleep products that work well for kids with the fl u or cold, along with a whole section of natural products for children, ages 2 to 12, and another area for babies.” For single symptoms like nasal discharge, Wissa recommends and sells single homeopathic pellets. The pharmacy also offers safe, nontoxic all-natural head lice treatment.

Customers coming into Lake Mahopac Pharmacy to pick up a bottle of ibuprofen, shampoo or a prescription can peruse the shelves for essential oils, diffusers, Bach fl ower remedies, teas, the pharmacy’s own private label vitamins from Wellness Works and gifts from Ten Thousand Villages. Wissa is usually on hand for questions and advice, getting to know his customers and helping them achieve their wellness goals.

Northern Westchester

Family-owned and independently operated, Katonah Pharmacy is the newest holistic pharmacy on the block. Located where Mrs. Greens used to be in the village of Katonah, the pharmacy is run by brothers William and Chris Ryder. William serves as head pharmacist and Chris’s wife, Pharmacist Kim Ryder, also works there.

In their service to customers, the family focuses on education and promoting wellness. “At Katonah Pharmacy, our primary goal is to achieve and maintain optimal health for the patients that walk through our doors,” explains William. “We do so by educating them and offering healthier alternatives, such as a wide array of vitamins, supplements, herbs, natural foods and organic juices.”

Customers can enjoy a delicious and healthy organic refreshment from the store’s juice bar while perusing the shelves. “We all believe in the holistic approach here, using natural remedies along with traditional medicine to treat the person as a whole,” says Will’s girlfriend Krystal Tamburino, who runs the juice bar. “Juicing is my personal instruction for mind, body, skin and soul.”

Katonah Pharmacy will host a Grand Opening Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., February 18. The event will feature giveaways, vendor samples and free juice and snacks from the bar. See news brief on page 16 for event information.

Lower Westchester

Rye Beach Pharmacy is a large independent operation, filling 400 to 700 prescriptions per day. The Lower Westchester location features a team of capable employees with expertise in nutrition and natural products. Patient counseling is available, along with compounded medications for humans and pets, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, nutritional supplements and many natural health products.

“We compound for hundreds of physicians and veterinarians and I run the nutrition department,” states Registered Pharmacist and Natural Products Manager Ronald May. “We carry 60 lines of vitamins and about 5,000 different supplements.” May is always happy to field questions in the aisles from customers searching for the best supplement for their particular issue.

May sees many patients seeking help from prescription medication and not finding solutions that work. “Medicine is not in a good place right now and not much is known about basic nutritional biochemistry or nutritional products,” he explains. “Prescription medications are often used as a band-aid approach. Fortunately, some people get better on their own with a little help from medication but there are many failures. Patients end up feeling sick and going to different doctors who offer other solutions that don’t work.” Using his combined expertise in pharmacy and nutrition, May and his colleagues at Rye Beach Pharmacy can help clients find long-lasting solutions to their health needs.

Holistic pharmacies offer something their big chain competitors are not able to provide: natural solutions that help people get on the road to overall health and wellness. With expertise that extends beyond that of traditional medicine, these pharmacists can pull from an extensive knowledge base and offer recommendations and customized products designed for each patient’s individual needs.


Lake Mahopac Pharmacy 559 Route 6, Mahopac, NY 10541 845.208.0424; Open: Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. See ad, page 17.

Katonah Pharmacy 202 Katonah Avenue, Katonah, NY 10536 914.232.1109; Open: Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rye Beach Pharmacy 464 Forest Avenue Rye, NY 10580 914.967.0856; Open: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.