For years, iHerb.com has been my go-to online grocer for natural products. From supplements, to dishwashing liquids, toothbrushes, spices, kitchen tools and sun screen, I’m always able to find what I need on this store. Plus the discounts and free delivery always makes my day.
This post is about some of my recent purchases, why I decided to purchase them and the evidence behind their benefits, as well as the toxicity of the products they’ve replaced in my house. See this post for my past favorite iHerb products. I’ve also included amazon links for those that don’t use iHerb.
***Use my code “SCM575” for 5-10% off your order on iHerb.com!***
- Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder
- Bio Kleen Oxygen Bleach Plus
- ATTITUDE All Purpose Surface Cleaner
- Four Sigmatic Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix
Recently, I’ve been trying to decrease the toxic load on my family from chemicals found in our household cleaners. Did you know many common home cleaners contain hazardous substances that cause all sorts of health problems from known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) to allergic reactions, respiratory, infant and child developmental problems? “Even more troubling is that the law doesn’t require most types of cleaners even to disclose what chemicals are in them.” 
1. Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder
For awhile now, I’ve managed to convince my mum to switch to using Nellie’s All-Natural, Laundry Soda for the daily laundry as I was drawn to the “All-Natural” labelling. Don’t get me wrong, Nellie’s is a good brand but upon further research, I found that it was rated a “B” on the Environmental Working Group (EWG’s) website with some concern for cancer due to the Alcohol Ethoxylates (C12) used .
Additional research and cross linking with the brands on iHerb, I’ve found another better one – Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder, Molly’s Suds has been rated “A” by the Environmental Working Group . This means their products contain few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment and have good ingredient disclosure.
Before this, my mum was using the Fairprice Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent. A local brand which contain very vague ingredients on the ingredients list:
“Anionic Surfactants, Non-Ionic Surfactant, Optical Brightener, Color Dye, Fragrance, Anti-Bacterial Agent and Preservatives”
Whenever you see vague terms like “surfactants”, “brightener”, “color dye”, “fragrance” and “preservatives”, you really should be raising an eyebrow and think twice before purchasing and using that product on the clothes you wear. Remember, these clothes come into contact with you skin, the largest and one of the most permeable organ of your body, all the time.
Also, when shopping online for laundry detergents, a wiser choice is to go for the ones in powder form. Liquid laundry detergents can consist of up to 50% water! You wouldn’t want to pay for shipping water would ya?
2. Bio Kleen Oxygen Bleach Plus
As with the aforementioned laundry soda, I decided to try Bio Kleen, Oxygen Bleach Plus because this was another brand rated “A” on the EWG website. Prior to this, my mother was soaking all our whites with the local conventional bleach before washing. Upon checking, I realized it was the same Fairprice house brand, FairPrice White Bleach. Sure, it is extremely affordable at just SGD$1.10 per litre, however, there wasn’t even an ingredients list on the label! Remember, there is no law enforcing these companies to include an ingredients list and even when they do, the terms they use can be so vague and ambiguous.
Every time my mother adds a cap of that bleach into a pail of water to soak our whites, she risks absorbing some of those toxic chemicals like chlorine through the pores of her skin. Additionally, when she pours these chemicals away, there is a high chance they pollute the environment as some of these like Sodium Hypochlorite are very toxic to aquatic life .
3. ATTITUDE, All Purpose Surface Cleaner
Last of my latest household cleaner changes is the ATTITUDE, All Purpose cleaner. This product also scored an “A” on the EWG website . As the name goes, this surface cleaner can be used on almost all surfaces from window glass to bathroom tiles and pots and pans. That said, it is always wise to test on an inconspicuous area before using liberally.
This new cleaner is to replace the CIF Cream Cleanser that my mum has been using for decades. Despite its “lemon” perfumed scent, one whiff of this cleaner and you’d definitely know its toxic. According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency, most home cleaners are a leading cause to the quality of indoor air being up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.  This is not only true in pristine cities free of industrial pollution like northern Maine but also the bustling ones like LA and New York. This is especially so when the cleaners you’re using uses a spray function.
4. Four Sigmatic, Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix
Four Sigmatic’s Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix is the latest of my autoimmune experiments. Ganoderma lucidum (latin) aka Reishi (japanese) aka Lingzhi (chinese) mushrooms are also called the “mushroom of immortality” and have thousands of years of historical usage mostly in cultures in the east like China and Japan.
Extracts from the mushroom have numerous health benefits.  There is some scientific evidence for its anti-tumor and cancer fighting abilities  due to its potent antioxidant effects, also that it improves liver function and detoxification , aids in fighting viral and bacterial infections [20,21], has a blood sugar lowering effect  and of its immunomodulating abilities  – most relevant for someone fighting an autoimmune disease like me.
Immunomodulation can either mean stimulating or suppression of the immune system. From the root word “modulate”, it can also be thought of as balancing or returning a overstimulated or depressed immune system to a normal, homeostatic state of function. This would help anyone suffering from immune related diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases. 
Quite convinced of the health benefits of Reishi, the next step was to find a supplement or product that would deliver the most of these benefits to the human body; in other words, the most bioavailable product would be the most efficient. There are so many products on the market, from mushroom powders to tinctures, to whole chunks and many other kinds of extracts. Its hard to find a reliable, effective source. I found this guide for more information on how to choose a mushroom supplement. With that, Four Sigmatic has been reputed to produce very potent mushroom products like their Mushroom Coffee lines which Tim Ferriss endorses. As he puts it, “I was on FIRE for the entire day I got more done that day than three or four days prior to that.” It’s so potent that he now only takes half a packet at a time. Here’s another breakdown of their product.
Update (27th Oct 2017)
I took about a packet a day in the late afternoons and finished the box in almost 20 consecutive days.
The taste wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. Woody notes. Kinda pleasant and calming in a sense.
Unfortunately, symptoms-wise I did not experience anything significant. Sadly, the first few days I might even have gotten a negative reaction to it as the pain in my foot got worse. However, all is not lost.
This negative reaction could be a sign that my autoimmune disease is Th1 dominant. The literature certainly says so about Ankylosing Spondylitis.  Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi are known to stimulate the Th1 immune system. In someone with an already ‘overactive’ Th1 system, taking these would cause an adverse reaction in the form of worsening symptoms.
Interestingly though, after those first few days, I did not experience any further worsening. In fact, I started to feel better, in the sense that my symptoms went back to baseline.
This is grounds to further test out more potent sources of Reishi in the future like the ORIVeDA REISHI Primo recommended by Dave in the comments below!
I hope this post has helped you gain a better awareness of some of the dangers of modern home cleaners, provide some healthier alternatives as well as give a brief introduction to the immunomodulatory effects of the Reishi mushroom. I’ll probably write a follow up review of the mushroom elixir. Do subscribe, share and leave a comment if you’ve found this beneficial!
Please note that the contents of this blog are meant for informational purposes and not meant to serve as a substitute for medical advice. Be sure to consult with your primary healthcare practitioner before experimenting on any new product.
It costs you nothing and your support is greatly appreciated!
References, Links and Related Posts
- Blogpost: My iHerb Shopping List for Natural Products!
- Spring Cleaning: EWG’s Tips on What to Use – and What to Avoid
- Nellie’s All-Natural, Laundry Soda
- Nellie’s Laundry Soda EWG rating: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/6251-NelliesAllNaturalLaundrySoda#.WcYFScgjFPY
- Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder (iHerb.com, amazon.com)
- Molly’s Suds (EWG): http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/5835-MollysSudsLaundryPowder#.WcYI7sgjFPY
- Fairprice Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Bio Kleen, Oxygen Bleach Plus (iHerb.com, amazon.com)
- Bio Kleen, Oxygen Bleach Plus EWG rating – http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2572-biokleenOxygenBleachPlus#.WcYMqMgjFPY
- FairPrice White Bleach
- Sodium Hypochlorite EWG rating: http://www.ewg.org/guides/substances/14153-SODIUMHYPOCHLORITE#.WcYO5sgjFPY
- ATTITUDE, All Purpose cleaner (iHerb.com, amazon.com)
- ATTITIDE, All Purpose EWG rating: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/3429-AttitudeAllPurposeEcoCleaner#.WcdXscgjFPY
- CIF Cream Cleanser: http://www.fairprice.com.sg/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/fairprice/cif-cream-cleanser—lemon-500ml-12680891
- Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality – https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality
- Four Sigmatic, Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix (iHerb.com, amazon.com)
- Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 9 Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi)
A Medicinal Mushroom: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/#ch9_sec2
- Anti-tumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15525457
- Hepatoprotective effects of aqueous extract from Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (higher basidiomycetes) on α-amanitin-induced liver injury in mice: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23796220
- Medicinal Properties of Substances Occurring in Higher
Basidiomycetes Mushrooms: Current Perspectives: http://www.alohamedicinals.com/basidiomycetes-mushrooms.pdf
- Antimicrobial effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (higher Basidiomycetes) and its main compounds: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24940906
- Novel hypoglycemic effects of Ganoderma lucidum water-extract in obese/diabetic (+db/+db) mice: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19109000
- Immunomodulatory effects of lingzhi and san-miao-san supplementation on patients with rheumatoid arthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16873089
- Natural Support for Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disease: https://restorativemedicine.org/journal/natural-support-for-autoimmune-and-inflammatory-disease/
- What you should know before buying mushroom supplements: https://oriveda.wordpress.com/what-you-should-know-before-buying-mushroom-supplements/#IV
- Four Sigmatic Review – What Tim Ferriss Didn’t Say About Mushroom Coffee: https://www.nootropedia.com/four-sigmatic-review/
- Blogpost: Rate X: An Amazon Shopper’s Best Friend!
- T lymphocyte subset imbalances in patients contribute to ankylosing spondylitis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247318/
- ORIVeDA REISHI Primo