Updated: Oct 5, 2018
Natural Products proudly used and sold here at Gateway Facial Therapies!
As told be Founder, Regina Di Silvestro
While studying Zoology & Anthropology at Arizona State University I took a certification class at a local herb shop to become a Herbalist. It was through this course where I became intrigued with the world of medicinal plants. Shortly after taking the course, I began working at the herb shop part time as a sales associate/herbalist and began working as a research assistant in an ecology lab for an undergraduate research project.
Our ecology group focused on studying fungal endophytes and their effects within grass populations. I stumbled upon investigating chemical compounds (phenolics) that along with alkaloids were thought to be responsible for various physiological symptoms in cows who fed on sleepy grass. It wasn't until a bit later that I discovered the connection between the work I was doing on the chemical compounds of the grasses and the ancient science of herbalism.
It was because of these chemicals (and many others) within plants that they can be medicinal and have a pharmacological effect. This eureka moment was when I realized I was hooked into the world that surrounds natural product chemistry and herbalism.
I contemplated becoming a Naturopathic physician but instead decided to attend the University of Arizona as a graduate student in their Pharmacology & Toxicology program emphasizing in Natural Product and Medicinal Chemistry.
I studied there; worked as a research chemist and biologist investigating anti-cancer agents from rhizosphere microflora of desert plants and developed herbalism classes of my own which I taught at Pima Community College. After graduate school, I began working as research chemist for another anti-cancer project. This time we investigated anti-cancer triterpene glycosides from the leaves and seed pods of the Acacia victoriae tree before moving to San Diego.
While in San Diego and working as a peptide chemist for Amylin Pharmaceuticals, I began making herbal extracts for my friend's massage therapy clients in 2002 out of my one car garage. Demand grew quickly and I needed to make larger batches and have more available to sell on a regular basis, thus RD Alchemy was born. Soon after; massage oils, lotions, body scrubs and masques followed as therapists needed toxin free and highly therapeutic products to use in their services as well.
While still keeping my day job, I worked nights and weekends for 6 years and moved the business from the one car garage to our master bedroom of our condo in Lemon Grove and then to a 700 sq ft retail shop nearby. The front of the shop was the small retail section, middle; the manufacturing space and back; where I lived. That space was outgrown after 4 years and in 2010 I moved into a larger space in the Little Italy area of San Diego. For the next 7 years in Little Italy we created a community and wellness space which incorporated our products but, also services and education.
In 2011 and coming back to my research roots another division to RD Alchemy was born, our Alchemy Research Institute. At Alchemy Research Institute (ARI); we look for treatments from natural products towards cancer, neurodegenerative and auto-immune diseases. All research is funded from profits of RD Alchemy Natural Products sales. When any one of our customers buys a moisturizer, body wash or lotion etc… they are funding our efforts to help individuals on a greater level.
In 2016, we closed our brick and mortar shop in Little Italy and moved into a larger manufacturing facility in East Village to focus on ecommerce, wholesale, private label & custom formulation.
Everything under the RD Alchemy brand name is made with 98-100% natural ingredients, organic herbs, no parabens, no synthetic fragrance, no petroleum products, no animal testing and all based on the power of herbal medicine. Our formulas also contain much more active ingredients and less fillers than our competitors. Our passion and efforts help improve the lives of those with not only cosmetic dilemmas, but also those with debilitating symptoms or terminating diseases.
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