Discover the Healing Power of Mushrooms: Tonya Papanikolov’s Top 5 Picks

Discover the Healing Power of Mushrooms: Tonya Papanikolov’s Top 5 Picks

Mushrooms have been a cornerstone of traditional medicine for centuries, and with modern research, we're beginning to understand why. Rainbo's founder, Tonya Papanikolov, shares her top five medicinal mushrooms, each with unique benefits that support overall health and wellness.

  1. Reishi - Queen of medicinal mushrooms! This mushroom has queen energy, and she is my favourite mushroom, especially for women. Reishi is also known as the mushroom of immortality and the herb of spiritual potency in Chinese Medicine. Reishi is a powerful adaptogen, meaning that it helps the body and mind adapt fluidly to stress, allowing the body to adjust and find balance. Reishi is great for hormone health as it supports the liver. It also supports the immune system and a long and healthy life. I find this mushroom to keep me calm, strong, and spiritually connected.

  2. Lion’s Mane is everyone’s favourite mushroom—and for good reason. It boosts brain functions like focus, concentration, memory, brain fog, and mood, supports neuron health and anxiety, and is anti-inflammatory. Did you know inflammation is closely linked to depression? Many mushrooms contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds that can support mental health. Chinese Buddhist monks used lion’s Mane in their tea, claiming it helped them focus in their meditation and increase brain power.

  3. Cordyceps - the well-known caterpillar fungus that received a bad rep after The Last of Us; I can assure you that this medicinal mushroom is incredible and safe. This is one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world when harvested wild, so almost all of it on the market is cultivated. The benefits are numerous, supporting energy, sexual function and libido, performance, and support of the lungs and kidney essence in TCM. This mushroom is all about vigour and vitality. Traditional uses as a secret tonic to strengthen, rebuild and energize the body and mind.

  4. Turkey Tail - the most well-studied mushroom of all time. This powerful mushroom supports the immune system’s innate and adaptive immune responses. This is the mushroom I turn to when I feel a bug coming on. For cold and flu season, I combine Turkey Tail, Reishi and Chaga, and I rarely get sick; if I do, it lasts a couple of days and has a shorter cycle. Turkey tail also supports a healthy inflammation response, protects DNA from damage, and supports gut health through the polysaccharides in this mushroom that can positively alter the microbiome.

  5. Chaga—the King of medicinal mushrooms! This fungus is an all-star with tons of benefits due to its array of over 200 different bioactive metabolites. The melanin it contains is a powerful antioxidant and DNA protector. The polysaccharides support our immune system and liver and have antioxidant properties. The triterpenes have antiviral properties. This is a potent and healing mushroom. 

    How a beginner can start with functional mushrooms:

    Starting to integrate functional mushrooms into your daily routine can be simple. I always recommend people start by tuning into their needs and their life-season. Where do you need the most support? Is it stress, focus, energy, immune support, inflammatory support, gut health, or some combination of these? Once you identify your main goal, you can select your mushroom accordingly. I love tinctures because they are 8x more bioavailable than capsules, are easy to travel with, and can pair them with my morning tonic. My morning tonic daily ritual brings me joy and ensures I consistently consume my mushrooms to reap the benefits. Tinctures are easy to travel with, and you can add them directly to water, coffee, matcha, tea, or right under the tongue