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Hastings Pharmacist to Launch 'WebMD' for Holistic Medicine

Greenleaf's Mike Altman is branding his dream of educating people about the positive effects of natural remedies.

Sure Mike Altman, owner of , will fill prescriptions for you; he knows all the potential side-effects of every drug; he can verify that you've been given the right dosage...that you're not taking anything else that might interact badly with a new drug—

However, dispensing prescription medications is not his true passion.

Altman wants to heal people using holistic, natural remedies first—and by launching his website "New World Apothecary" this month, he hopes to disseminate his belief in the power of natural remedies to an audience much greater than just the Rivertowns.

"My dream is to become the 'WebMD' for wellness products," he said. "Our first job will be to educate people worldwide about the products—even before trying to sell them."

In the Warburton pharmacy—which Altman has owned for eight years—he likes to use anecdotal evidence to determine which products to recommend to customers. "I prefer listening to what people have to say than reading studies; studies can be rigged in favor of the companies that produce them," he said.

For example, rather than fill a prescription for Klonopin or Xanax for acute anxiety, Altman would rather that his customers try a product called "Rescue Remedy", which he says works just as well as the widely-prescribed "benzos."

"The stuff is phenolenal," he said. "Clients tell me all the time; it's like taking the drugs without hindering your mental activity."

Similarly, for insomnia, he'd prefer to dispense Somniphan—a holistic remedy that combines L-Tryptophan (think turkey), Gaba and melatonin—than Ambien or Lunesta.

"The Somniphan is completely non-addictive and doesn't make you groggy in the morning," he said. 

Of course, anecdotal responses to products won't cut it on a global website, so when his site launches in late April, Altman will provide extensive information about each product and its ingredients.

He's also compiled a team of specialists who share his enthusiasm for holistic medicine including: an orthopedic surgeon, an acupuncturist, a plastic surgeon whose concentration is in anti-ageing, two nutritionists and an herbalist. 

The pharmacy itself—which you might have noticed has recently undergone an extensive rennovation—will also change its name to "New World Apothecary." And Altman will continue providing all the services he already does...just adding a global website for wellness information and products to the mix.

He hopes to be marketing more than 50,000 different items on the site by the end of June. 

"Most doctors don't adequately educate their patients about the medicines they prescribe; that's where WebMD comes in," he said. "We hope to provide the same service for holistic products." 

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