Community| 4 min read

Talking Mushrooms with Tonya Papanikolov

We sat down with Rainbo founder, Tonya Papanikolov, to learn about the healing powers of mushrooms.

With a history of traditional use that goes back thousands of years, mushrooms have recently made a comeback in discussions around natural wellness. Celebrated for their healing and cleansing properties, we’re beginning to rediscover their potential to transform and uplift our body, mind and being.

To learn more about what makes fungi a fantastic addition to our wellness routine, we reached out to Tonya Papanikolov. Tonya is a holistic nutritionist, an educator, and the founder of the mushroom supplement company Rainbo. Rainbo is a fellow Canadian (and B Corp certified) company that’s on a mission to educate people on the potential and power of fungi.



We had the pleasure of chatting with Tonya to learn more about the power of medicinal mushrooms. In our conversation, she shared her tincture recommendations for first-timers, as well as some of her tried and true wellness routines.


Q: Tell us a little bit about your journey creating Rainbo. Where did your interest in mushrooms first evolve from, and what inspired you to create the brand?

My healing journey began as a teenager, and those experiences really directed my focus from a young age. I’ve been studying nutritional sciences and holistic modalities ever since and have devoted my life’s work to helping people heal through functional nutrition, mycotherapy and integrative lifestyles.

My first-hand healing experience with fungi began in 2011, and sparked my passion, reverence and belief in the magic of mushrooms. Since 2018, I’ve been building the Rainbo brand — and we’re now a small team of mycophiles who love to educate and inspire a mushroom lifestyle!

I started my own business because a) more people need access to functional mushrooms products for preventative health; b) I believe fungi can help humanity in endless ways; c) I couldn’t find the mushroom products that had the transparency that I wanted and d) I was inspired to create and run an impact and mission-oriented business!



Q: For someone who is new to medicinal mushrooms, where do you feel is a good place to start? What are some good “training wheel” tinctures?

It’s easy and safe to start taking medicinal mushrooms and all of them support your immunity! 11:11 is an excellent place to start, but there is no right or wrong way.

I recommend getting acquainted with the mushrooms and their benefits and then check in with your body/mind to decide where you need the most support.

Spirit and Stress support = Reishi
Brain and Mind support = Lion’s Mane
Energy support = Cordyceps
Immune support = all of the mushrooms but especially Chaga, Turkey Tail and 11:11
Synergistic support = 11:11
Antioxidants/oxidative stress support = Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, 11:11



One of the most common questions we get is, ‘which tincture is best for me?’ We created an easy-to-read graphic on our mushrooms, their benefits and this has been really helpful for people to understand where to start.


Q: What’s your go-to way to take your daily tincture? Any favourite beverages to add them to?

Every morning in my mushroom matcha 🙂
Before bed, I have Reishi in a glass of water.


Q: While we’re talking wellness, do you have any other rituals or routines you swear by?

I try to wake up before sunrise, practice kundalini yoga daily and as soon as I wake up. I drink tons of water… Have cold showers regularly… I really try to honor the ebbs and flows of my energy as a Projector. I also have a regular movement practice – pilates, running, weights, walking. I love measuring biomarkers to take the guesswork out of my health, healing and optimizing. I keep it light, playful, silly and laughy – basically just keep my spirit nourished and feeling playful. Fiercely listening to my intuition and letting this guide my actions, day and decisions.



Q: What’s your favourite fact about mushrooms to share with people? Or one that always personally amazes you?

Mushrooms are environmental guardians; I like to think of them as our Earth’s immune system. Learning about how vital fungi’s role on Earth is has been the most awe-inspiring. They are incredibly versatile, resilient and were an essential part of life’s progression out of water. They are our distant relatives too, fungi split from animals (us) about 1.5 billion years ago.


Q: Last question! We love that Rainbo is a fellow B Corp Certified Canadian brand prioritizing sustainable practices that put the planet and its people first. What’s next when it comes to growing as a sustainable business?

Sustainability, or our B Corp/Climate Neutral certifications were never a final destination. There is always more work to do, and always ways for us to improve! What’s next as we scale Rainbo is finding like-minded, value aligned partners and suppliers across our whole supply chain, while optimizing our shipping routes and storing our products closer to our customers – to name a few!


Our thanks go out to Tonya for spending time to share her knowledge with us.

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