Chowa, or Cho-wa, is an herbal tea used as a nutritional supplement. The company that produces the tea and the people who use it claim that it has an interesting history as well as a significant number of health benefits. Although these claims have never been formally tested, the tea does contain a number of natural ingredients that are known to have beneficial effects.
Producers claim that the tea has been used for centuries in Japan. It was supposedly concocted by a sensei exclusively for use by the Tiger Shogun. Even after his death, only his descendants were allowed to drink the secret formula. After a number of years, it was passed down to Dr. Kumato and taken out of Japan to California, where it is now produced by Kumato laboratories and is available for purchase by the masses.
Chowa is claimed to have numerous health benefits. Retailers and users tout it as improving the immune system, promoting weight loss, and increasing mental function. It is also thought to help alleviate depression and generally raise a person's mood, reduce cholesterol and fatigue, and decrease unpleasant symptoms such as aching joints. There has not been any formal, published clinical trials testing these claims, but many are supported by numerous consumer reviews. A number of ingredients in the powdered tea have also previously been recognized as having significant potential health benefits.
One of the main ingredients in Chowa is green tea. Green tea has long been used as an antioxidant and is thought to be useful in boosting the immune system, reducing LDL cholesterol, and aiding weight loss by increasing the user's metabolism. Rhodiola, also known as Golden Root, is a plant purported to reduce feelings of depression and improve mental and physical abilities. A third ingredient, ginkgo biloba, also may enhance mental capabilities such as memory. This tree is known for numerous beneficial properties, including increasing blood circulation, improving the supply of oxygen to tissues and organs, and protecting cells against degeneration and damage.
The three mushroom species included in the Chowa — shiitake, reishi, and maitake — are commonly eaten to help improve the function of the immune system. Lyceum, also known as the Chinese wolfberry, can help the health of users by reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Euphoria root is considered an excellent source of essential vitamins, such as A and C, and minerals, including iron and potassium. Finally, licorice fruit can help to improve the health of the lungs by reducing the viscosity of mucus and making it easier to expel.
The recommended dosage for Chowa is one cup (about 240 ml) per day, made with water like regular tea. Although the ingredients are natural, the tea apparently contains a significant amount of caffeine. As it is an herbal supplement, the production of Chowa is not stringently regulated, and like all supplements, patients should both check with their doctors and conduct their own research before deciding if it is the right supplement for them.