Building a Mushroom Movement, with DIRTEA

Building a Mushroom Movement, with DIRTEA

The growing interest in functional mushrooms

by Andrew Salter, co-founder of DIRTEA, which produces pure, delicious and potent super mushroom extract powders that can be consumed as teas, coffees and cacaos.

They say you are what you eat, but quite literally, we share over 50% of our DNA with mushrooms. We are more closely linked to fungi than any plant, which is only a fraction of the fascinating properties of fungi.

Fungi are spore-producing organisms that have been around for approximately 1.5 billion years, and mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungus. Functional mushrooms, however, are the types of fungi that offer health benefits beyond their standard sustenance. In recent years there’s been a growing interest in incorporating mushrooms into our daily lives, and you may wonder, why the hype?

The use of mushrooms for culinary and health purposes dates back thousands of years, most notably in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). With further research, science is rediscovering all the benefits we can obtain from these mushrooms.

Functional mushrooms are adaptogenic in nature, which may help the body adapt to stress. They have been at the core of thousands of studies for their potential ability to support energy, immunity, sleep, brain function, skin, hormones and sexual health. This is precisely why my journey to co-founding DIRTEA began. As a young entrepreneur and after many years of tirelessly working, I was starting to feel fatigued, and as a result, I began to feel both overwhelmed and stressed. My brother and I recognised that many of our friends were complaining about suffering from more chronic and severe symptoms of burnout, anxiety and insomnia.

It has always been my brother's and my belief that by taking control of your health through diet, supplementation and physical health, you have a far better chance of functioning every day and can potentially prevent many of the degenerative diseases we humans can face. 

My brother and I have always been interested in natural ways to function better and manage the stress of our fast-paced lives. This led us to delve deep into the science and ancestral studies of plants, mindful meditation, ice and sauna therapy, and other natural healing and well-being methods. After months of researching and trialling, we were introduced to fungi, a kingdom of life with over 4 million species, including functional mushrooms. These mushrooms contain active compounds studied by scientists for their natural healing and functional properties for the human body and mind. They are some of the most researched and nutrient-dense foods on the planet, including Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Tremella and Turkey Tail. 

Fascinated by the history, scientific research, well-being and calming effects of functional mushrooms, we committed to using them over the next few weeks. We added dual-extract mushroom powders to our morning smoothies and coffee or drank them as teas to see the results. It wasn’t long before I started to feel considerably less stressed, well-rested, focused, and alert. It is incredible how these mushrooms could create such harmony within the body.

Once we had experienced the benefits of these mushrooms that surpassed anything else we had tried before, we wanted to share this with the world, hoping that it would also help others, and DIRTEA was born.

DIRTEA’s mushroom powders are made from only the fruiting body, which contains the highest concentration of active ingredients, such as beta-glucans, triterpenes, and other active compounds that offer natural, health-boosting properties. In addition, all DIRTEA mushroom powders are made from the world’s finest mushrooms; they are sourced from the most responsible organic growers and undergo a sophisticated dual extraction process. They are also third-party tested for active compounds so that users reap the full benefits of functional mushrooms with no nasties.

The mushrooms and how to take them.

Each mushroom provides unique benefits, and what you take depends on your needs. All DIRTEA mushroom extracts can be added to hot water to make tea or in your coffees and smoothies. 


has calming effects. If you find it hard to fall asleep and struggle with fatigue, drinking Reishi tea each night may help keep stress and anxiety levels under control. Triterpenes are one of Reishi's primary beneficial compounds, accounting for its bitter taste. This compound has many health benefits, which include preventing damage to important cellular components and helping the liver metabolise toxins.

Lion’s Mane

is great for increasing focus and reducing brain fog. Lion’s Mane has been shown to stimulate the production of the Nerve Growth Factor, a protein that can help the growth of new brain cells in your hippocampus (a part of the brain associated with learning and memory). This can lead to increased concentration, and Lion’s Mane may even reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is also great for debloating and aids digestion.


has been known to be beneficial for our immunity because of the number of antioxidants found within it. Chaga has more antioxidants in one cup than in 600 blueberries! It can provide a slow release of energy, so there is no morning lethargy for those who find it difficult to function when the sun rises. It is also brilliant for the skin. Chaga has an earthy taste and has even been used as a coffee alternative.

Turkey Tail

is another astonishing immunity booster for those who need it. The polysaccharides in this mushroom are said to promote immunity and defeat inflammation. Perhaps this explains why I haven’t seen a doctor in a while! They taste chewy if eaten as a whole mushroom, with a strong earthy flavour. They are not typically consumed whole but boiled to make tea, taken in powder form or capsules.


has a compound called cordycepin, which has been shown to upregulate our energy levels. Taking Cordyceps pre- and post-workout could provide more vigour as it can force more oxygen into your muscles and lungs, enhancing your physical ability. It is even said to boost libido. Cordyceps taste earthy and nutty and are best as teas or added to your favourite drink.


may be my all-time favourite beauty routine. Taking the Tremella extract powder may act as a natural collagen, holding over 500 times its weight in water. The hydrating substances in Tremella are smaller than those of hyaluronic acid, allowing them to penetrate the skin faster and more effectively. It has a subtly sweet flavour that’s delicious on its own or mixed into your favourite drinks.