The beauty world has fallen in love with Korean skincare—can we even remember a time when BB creams, sheet masks, and skincare essences didn’t exist? These are all products that originated in Korea but have become a mainstay for beauty aficionados in the West.
Now there’s a new category on the horizon, Korean Wellness, with NYC-based startup QiAlchemy leading the niche. The brand partners with a doctor of traditional Korean medicine with over 40 years’ clinical and herbal experience, to produce mineral- and vitamin-packed “herbal pearls” which promise stress relief, anti-inflammatory benefits, and immune system strength. Getting your superfoods and nutrients can be as easy as popping a few pearlescent pills every day.
We spoke to founder Grace Yoon about how QiAlchemy came to be and how it’s changing the wellness landscape.
How did QiAlchemy come into existence?
Grace Yoon: QiAlchemy came into existence when I was reflecting about my grandmothers who were important figures in my life. One was a traditional Korean medicine doctor and the other was a farmer and herbalist. Both these wise women taught me the importance of Qi, which is the foundation of Eastern health and wellness—longevity and vitality come naturally when your body is in a state of harmony. As a young child, I was chronically ill and fatigued, and no Western doctor could diagnose my illness. Through acupuncture and herbal remedies, my grandmothers healed me, helping me realign my Qi.
When did you first realize Qi Alchemy was a viable business idea?
I worked at a modern meditation start-up and saw a growing demand for wellness-related services and products. Last summer while walking through an herbal market in Korea, I realized that Koreans have used herbal remedies for centuries, so I saw an opportunity to share these functional herbal blends with the West.
Do you think the fact that Korean skincare is so popular helps get people excited about Korean Wellness?
Many Western beauty manufacturers source formulations from Korea because they are the most advanced in the world. Herbal remedies and wellness practices have been used by Koreans for thousands of years and are sourced naturally from plants. There’s a reason South Koreans are known to live the longest in the world!
What health benefits do you provide with QiAlchemy?
Herbal pearls are high-quality, all-natural blended herbs from Korea. Our unique blend nourishes the gut and tonifies the digestive tract providing a great detox for your system. It also reduces your overall stress level.
There’s a routine involved with taking your herbal pearls—can you tell me more about the frequency and amount of pearls taken and why?
We collaborated with a highly respected traditional medical doctor with over 40 years of clinical and herbal experience who has provided the herbal pearls to thousands of patients, so we recommend taking one vial a day in the morning and up to three vials after each meal if you are experiencing a high level of stress.
Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use? Are some of them familiar to US consumers?
All of our ingredients are sourced from an organic herbal farm in the Chungcheong province. There are thousands of herbs around the world, but many herbal farms in China lack quality control and transparency, so that’s why we source our herbs directly from Korea. Some familiar herbs are ginger, licorice root, cinnamon, and honey.
What about ingredients that are unique to Korea?
Korea is highly recognized for its quality ginseng, which is called the “miracle medicine.” Many Korean luxury beauty products like Sulwhasoo use ginseng because of its powerful antioxidants.
Are your herbal pearls suited to everyone? Is there anyone who shouldn’t take them?
Our herbal pearls are suited to everyone, but with any type of supplement if you have any serious health conditions or are pregnant please consult a doctor.
What are your plans/goals with QiAlchemy?
My wish is to share the highest-quality functional herbal blends rooted in ancient Korean medicine with the Western world and provide sustainable health to all.