Meet the holistic nutritionist behind the adaptogenic brand Rainbo

It is all about the shrooms! We are on board with the power of adaptogens and we were beyond excited to introduce Rainbo to you earlier this year. It has from the beginning of Ara’kai been our belief that beauty comes from the inside out and that to look good, it is important to feel good. Nutrition and adaptogens are two key elements in our beauty rituals. We had a chat with adaptogenic powerhouse Tonya Papanikolov, founder of Rainbo. 

Name:  Tonya Papanikolov
Title:  Founder, CEO, Holistic Nutritionist
Company: Rainbo
Hometown: Toronto

  • What inspired you to get started with Rainbo?

A 10 year journey studying nutrition, both from a western and eastern perspective, my own holistic healing journey, the transformational effect medicinal mushrooms have had on my body, mind and spirit and realizing I needed to share the magic of mushrooms near and far to everyone! 

  • What makes mushrooms unique from plants in regards to their health benefits?

Mushrooms contain powerful compounds locked inside the cell wall that get broken down through the dual extraction process. These compounds are called Beta Glucans and they are the almighty immune supporting and modulating compounds that mushrooms are so well known for. But mushrooms contain a myriad of other powerful compounds as well that act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic agents in the body.


  • Most of your products are in liquid form, is it better to digest mushrooms in liquid form than pills, powder etc.? 

Not necessarily better but liquids are much faster to absorb and have high bioavailability and our preferred way to benefit from mushrooms.

Bioavailability: Unless subjected to an extraction method, the majority of the medicinal compounds locked up in mushrooms will not be bioavailable for absorption in the body. A dual-extraction is the best method to access the most complete range of compounds from the mushroom.

Absorption: Herbalists state that alcohol increases the absorption of an herb by approximately 30 per cent, so the doses can be much smaller.

Faster absorption rate: An extract in liquid form is absorbed faster by the body than a powder extract, with absorption starting in the mucous membranes of the mouth.

Stable quality: The alcohol in a tincture gives it a long shelf life and maintains its potency over time.

Easy to mix: As a liquid, tinctures are easy to add to other liquids and mix into food dishes without the clumping of powders.

Time: Tinctures are the quickest way to reap the benefits at full bioavailability. You can put the tincture right into the mouth or in a water bottle with no need to shake or mix in as you would a powder.

  • How do you produce your mushrooms - and how are they sustainably cultivated? 

We work closely with a grower in Canada who cultivates the mushrooms indoors using locally sourced ingredients to grow the mushrooms on, substrates like oats and wood. They also use up-cycled coffee grounds through a community initiative. 


  • You are also a nutritionist, can you share your favourite recipes with Rainbo tinctures? 

My favourite recipe is a mushroom latte with homemade nut milk! I make this every day.

- Tea base: Organic Uji Ceremonial Matcha (you can also use an herbal blend with Holy Basil for a caffeine free afternoon option)

- Warm cashew, almond, coconut milk blend

- Vanilla bean powder

- 8-10ml Rainbo mushrooms

- maca powder

- tocotrienols 

- Collagen 

- Forest Juice Maple Syrup, Date/Honey or sweet-free depending on my mood

I blend everything in my blender with hot water and it comes out frothy and delicious.

  • What is your daily skincare routine? 

Dry brush (a few times weekly)

Cold shower

Gentle face wash

Acid Toner (3-4 times weekly)

Rose water toner

Hyaluronic hydrating serum


Gua Sha & massage

Face Cream

Eye cream

(all natural products)

  • What self-care practices do you incorporate in your life? 

Kundalini yoga: breath, movement

31 minute meditation - usually involves chanting which is amazing for the vagus nerve

Medicinal mushrooms  

Water and herbal teas

Nourishing foods, cooking

Journalling and writing

Getting into nature - a walk to clear the head

  • Can we expect any new innovations within adaptogenics? And what does the future hold for Rainbo?

Yes! An exciting new product is launching in the new year.

I've been dreaming about this product for years. That's all I can say for now.