Waltham Pharmacy Takes the Non-traditional Approach to Medicine

By Melissa Russell

Posted Dec 22, 2017 at 4:03 PM

Andrew Stein limped into Johnson Compounding and Wellness on a knee so swollen by bursitis, it “moved like jelly.”

Having taking ibuprofen around the clock with no relief, Stein, a pharmacist by training, sought out a different approach. After a few days on the homeopathic remedy curcumin, which is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties, he was amazed to see that it worked.

“I saw and felt results. It was incredible,” he said.

His college roommate, John Walczyk, is also a pharmacist and the longtime pharmacy manager of Johnson’s.

“I’m traditional, and when this works it throws you off. It shouldn’t work, but it does. When Andrew came in with his horrible knee, I knew he didn’t believe in it,” Walczyk said.

Historic pharmacy under new ownership

Through twists of fate and a timely retirement, Stein and Walczyk eventually wound up co-owners of the 165 year old business, taking over from owners Stephen and Diane Bernardi.

Under the Bernardi’s ownership, Johnson’s had became known for alternative treatments. When the Bernardis announced their retirement, Walczyk and Stein decided to take the plunge. They are only the fourth owners of the company since its founding in 1852.

Johnson Compounding & Wellness
WHAT: Johnson Compounding & Wellness, offering alternative therapies, including nutritional supplments and homeopathic remedies.
WHERE: 577 Main St. Waltham
WHEN: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday
INFORMATION: naturalcompounder.com, 781-893-3870

What they offer

Standing on the main floor of Johnson’s, Stein said, “I am very proud. To take over a company that was run well, it was a good opportunity for us.”

Walczyk said Johnson’s offers something traditional pharmacies cannot – customized care and guidance. They have a naturopathic doctor on site, for example.

“When a patient comes in, we make recommendations. Everything is customized for them, and we offer a money back guarantee to make people comfortable with trying new things,” he said.

The pharmacy also offers workshops, daily samples, and Tasting Tuesdays. Most recently, gummy bears flavored with elderberry syrup, which is reputed to help boost the immune system, were featured for tastings. They recently offered a workshop on creating home brewed elixir using cider vinegar, which has the reputation for aiding digestion.

“I drink it in the morning instead of coffee,” Stein said. “It makes me feel better.”

Why seek alternative therapies?

Walczyk said many customers, wary of taking traditional medicines which can wear on the body’s systems, are looking for something gentler.

“Ibuprofen is tough on the liver and kidneys and people are trying to stay away from it,” he said. “If you can use naturopathic remedies and boost immunities, you won’t need the ibuprofen.”