Dear Readers,

As a pharmacist for 25 years, I've been asked some basic questions so today's column is devoted to giving you answers and ways to deal with various pharmacy concerns. In no particular order:

Dear Readers,

Mother Nature has provided us with a beautiful medicine cabinet. In it, we find foods, herbal extracts and vitamins or minerals that reduce pain and promote health. Consider any of the following items in my list for what ails you. Of course, make sure your approves of you eating or taking something new. So what ails you?

Dear Readers,

The other day I was eating lunch with a friend and colleague and he mentioned that copper can increase the risk of cancer. This was not the first time I had heard something scary about copper. Last year, another friend (a medical doctor) also mentioned copper's association with cancer, especially hormonal types. How could something so integral to our body be so bad I wondered?

Dear Pharmacist,

I am saddened by the suicide of Robin Williams. I've dealt with depression on and off for years, and I was wondering if you have any natural suggestions for me to ask my doctor about?

—L.C., Gainesville, Florida

Dear Readers,

When I graduated from pharmacy school in 1989, I was eager to ease the world's suffering. At that time, my profession was rated the #1 "trusted" profession in the country. How could anything I dispense be bad?

Dear Pharmacist,

I have high blood pressure and my doctor recommended a diuretic and another medicine to relax my blood vessels. Do you think I should take it?

—J. S., Sacramento, California

Dear Pharmacist,

What spray do you recommend for hiking or picnicking outdoors?

—T.K., Denver, Colorado

Dear Readers,

I didn't like tea growing up but now it is a passion. I often want a caffeinated drink that isn't coffee. I used to drink a lot of yerba mate tea, because it lights me and increases my mental focus and energy. I've discovered Guayusa now.

Dear Pharmacist,

I read one of your previous articles about breast cancer and you talked about a pathway in the body that could be activated, and how certain natural supplements can help. Can you tell us which supplements?

—H.B., Bellevue, Washington

Dear Pharmacist,

I went on a hike that was way too steep and long. My muscles don't recover quite as fast as when I was younger. What can I do or take?

—H.N., Boulder, Colorado
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