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Coffee Enemas: Is This A Health Practice Worth Trying?

 

It’s time we talk about coffee enemas. I am asked about this at nearly every event I do, and it’s hard to find reliable information on the very basic details: How to do a coffee enema, how often should you do coffee enemas, and what is the best recipe for a coffee enema?

This post actually started as a re-write of an old post. My intention was to update it with new evidence and make it a valuable go-to resource. In the last decade, I have evolved my thinking and re-tuned my daily habits when new evidence or experience emerged. I have spoken about enemas in the past– in classes, on podcasts and in some of my own courses. After digging in once again on this topic, I am left questioning why I ever tried this practice in the first place. This was truly not the outcome I was expecting.

The main purported function of a coffee enema is to support detoxification in the body. Many experts will tell you that you don’t need to detox and that the body does the work all on its own. Our bodies are designed to do the work, but not at the level needed in our world today. We live in toxic homes, drive toxic cars, and live and work in polluted environments. This, of course, is a discussion we cover at length in our Healthy at Home Course.

The short version of the story is that to be optimally healthy in today’s world, we need to lend a hand to our detoxification pathways every single in order to prevent or heal disease. Is a coffee enema the best way to do that? I’m no longer sold.

The Health Benefits of Coffee Enemas

Coffee enemas were first popularized by Max Gerson, MD, author of A Cancer Therapy – Results of 50 Cases. His therapy combined coffee enemas with a special diet, juices and other supplements.

What I’m left wondering is, who was the first person to take their morning cup of coffee and decide that putting it in their bum was a better plan?

The main therapeutic action of the coffee enema is believed to improve the functionality of the liver and gallbladder by doing a bit of a toxin dump. The coffee enema helps remove toxins and cancerous metabolic by-products by stimulating the flow of bile from the gallbladder and increasing the enzymatic action of the liver.

Here are a few more of the assumed benefits:

  • Increased bile flow alkalinizes the small intestine and promotes improved digestion.
  • Coffee acts as an astringent in the large intestine, helping clean the colon walls.
  • Enhances digestion by increasing bile flow and removing toxins in the large intestine- so they don’t get absorbed and reprocessed in the body. Keep in mind that most ill health begins with overload of toxic waste combined with weak digestion.
  • One of the single most effective liver cleansing practices.
  • Glutathione S-transferases (GST) are a family of enzymes involved in detoxification. Palmitates in coffee increase the production of GST by 700 times. These powerful free-radical-quenching enzymes assist your liver to more effectively detoxify your entire body.
  • Coffee contains the alkaloid theophylline, which dilates blood vessels, increasing blood dialysis across the colon wall.
  • Increased blood supply to the intestinal tract improves muscle tone and digestion, as well as the elimination processes.

All of our blood passes through the liver every three minutes. The 12-to-15-minute coffee retention enema increases blood flow through the liver, resulting in a form of dialysis and a uniquely effective detoxification.

You’ll notice above that I say assumed benefits. When you start researching coffee enemas, there is not a lot of scientifically backed data to support them. However, it seems there used to be.

The Lack of Evidence To Support Coffee Enemas

It is tough to find any proper evidence in journals to support coffee enemas and it remains a bit of a mystery. Coffee enemas were a recommended practice in nursing textbooks in the first half of the 20th century. Leading medical journals also carried articles on the value of colonic irrigations with coffee. Lastly, the coffee enema was included in the Merck Manual’s recommendations from 1898 through 1977.

Though I did loads of hunting, what I found were blogs that link to other blogs and then to more blogs. A lot of the studies referenced were taken out of context.

That being said, are they harmful? I don’t know. That’s my honest answer today. Just as there was very little evidence to support the benefits, aside from the risks associated with putting coffee up your bum before letting it cool adequately, there doesn’t seem to be much harm.

What Do I Think About Coffee Enemas?

I remain on the fence about this health practice. In the past, I had done them, but it’s been several years. I would love to see more studies and more evidence that could support the practice and show that it absolutely does do the work that so many experts say it does.

Should you decide this is something you want to give a try, that decision remains yours. And if you have read a study or have your own personal experience you’d like to share, please post a comment below.

Coffee Enemas

Photo: iStock/kf4851

15 responses to “Coffee Enemas: Is This A Health Practice Worth Trying?”

  1. massybird says:

    Interesting… I just watched a program on this topic, along with a segment on Suzzane Summers, on Dateline last night. Have you seen it?

  2. Hayley says:

    After reading through Dr. Jensen’s books and attending classes at IHN, this process doesn’t gross me out or shock me…I’m used to it!
    In fact, I’ve thought about doing it. To be completely honest, the only thing stopping me is that my apartment is freezing and the thought of lying on a towel on the bathroom floor gives me shivers.
    Great info about the coffee though. I didn’t know that it was such a powerful cleansing enema.

  3. AmyLu says:

    If you are still looking for published info on this, I noticed a paper online (link below) references a couple of sources in print. Also, one of Dr. Sherry Rogers’ books I read a few years ago (probably either Detoxify or Die, or Wellness Against All Odds, but maybe The EI Syndrome) discusses coffee enemas.

    I’m not sure who or what institution, in the last 50 years, we would have expected to spend money to study this, so I guess I’m not surprised you didn’t find more studies.

  4. Cristina says:

    I so appreciate you writing this article and questioning coffee enemas. Personally I have done them in the past and am not a big fan. I have never been constapated in my life and happily detox in other more pleasant ways that suit me better (far infrared sauna, high raw food diet, skin brushing, oil pulling, tongue scrapping, rebounding, excercise, supplements). So I pass on the coffee lol, not for me.

  5. Jamie says:

    I love the idea of coffee enemas but they don’t love me. Even 1/4 of the recommended amount of coffee in an enema left me extremely jittery for hours. Not a fun experience. Water enemas I am totally fine with.

  6. Frankie Hols says:

    Years ago my dad went to the the emergency feeling like death. They did some bloodwork and sent him home to wait for results. On his way home he stopped by the home of a retired Gerson practitioner. She opened her door and before he even entered the house she told him he had a liver infection. She gave him a list of instructions one of which was coffee enemas. He went home and followed her directions. He was in horrible pain before the enema but he says after the enema it was like he had taken pain meds, it sucked the pain out of him. He wasn’t well but wasn’t dying either. Late in the night the hospital phoned telling him he had a liver infection and that it looked serious, telling him to get back to the hospital right away. He said thanks for the confirmation but he was already aware of it and was already on a protocol and already seeing results; he would stay home. The hospital couldn’t believe it and insisted he come in but he never did. He had multiple enemas a day (which he said always sucked the pain away) and had jugs of straight cranberry juice and pure charcole. The doctors said they expected him to die but he didn’t. He was healed naturally. The lack of research is disappointing but from my Dad’s experience I’d put money on the fact it supports the liver for sure.

  7. https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b74269f3f2d8cacae657b720758ccc07?s=51&d=blank&r=g Lyne says:

    Thank you Meghan for writing an honest blog post, showing us that there is not always an easy yes or no answer to everything. I have not tried coffee enemas but have always been curious. Maybe one day.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Great post! I’d love to see further research as well! I am a big fan of coffee enemas however and have used them myself with great success. It’s helped me support liver function- I’ve seen an increase in energy, elimination of mental fog and my skin improving (cystic acne gone!). This was obviously in combination of food changes as well. The liver stones, liver flukes, parasites and mucous I’ve seen come out is a reason for me to believe it’s effectiveness!

  9. https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/877de8f35b5321389987a338f0b67f55?s=51&d=blank&r=g Linda says:

    As a follower, and practicer of the Gerson therapy, I can only say that each of us is unique in our biology. I found coffee enemas help me tremendously with pain and detox. Thank you for your thorough research. In your blog post you state that you are left wondering who was the first person to take their morning cup of coffee and put it up their bum. The Gerson Therapy book gives the origins of Dr Gerson’s findings on where the practice was used before he recommended it. pgs 156-158. I am also cautious about information on the web. My daughter is a librarian and her college textbooks explain that reference material regarding wholistic and medical practice is meticulously culled due to a lawsuit that changed the law! A person claimed that the medical information they obtained from a book in the library was outdated and therefore dangerous. This changes what information is available to us. As an older adult, I treasure my books and information that has been passed down to me. I reference my books and I try suggested health information and with some prayer, I find what works for me. If I waited for information to be vetted by the professionals, I would be in rough shape!!!

  10. Katherine says:

    Hi Meghan,
    First time reader of your blog.
    This is where I received information on coffee enemas and how to administer them.
    I did this once at half a normal strength. I laid on the floor on my side for about 10 minutes before eliminating. However, before eliminating, upon getting up off my side, my head started to spin and did so for several seconds while I held onto the countertop. I am passing this information on to anyone interested in trying coffee enemas to be aware that the first time may cause dizziness. But, it also gave me more energy than drinking a cup of coffee ever did.
    I haven’t tried it since then, but I’m interested to see if I have the same experience.

  11. kat says:

    I felt amazing when I did coffee enemas. Would reccomend.

  12. Islandiver says:

    I have been using CE’s for the past several years and I can say for me they have had a positive effect for me. On the positive if done correctly, I experience an intense feeling of calm and an increase sense clarity and energy for several hours. As for the Detox function I can’t say what I can’t prove but I can say that if I’m dehydrated that the CE will cause a form out Gout in my feet sometimes which leads me to believe something other function has occurred then just caffeine stimulation. My wife is Estrogen dominate and other web blogs have post’s from others that feel that CE’s are a benefit and she would agree with that statement. If your looking for more information look at DRLWILSON.com and Optimal health network. both are not simply suppliers but are professional’s in the fields of holistic medicine.

  13. Beegirl says:

    Coffee enemas have helped clear my SIBO symptoms as well as tremendously improve my digestion. I have finally been able to gain some weight. HIGHLY recommend :)

  14. David Mark says:

    I do 1 or 2 coffee enemas a day. I have been lung cancer free for just over a year now. I actually had a medical doctor recommend doing Gerson Therapy along with my chemo treatments. Besides beating cancer I’ve found many other benefits. Blood tests showed it greatly improved my liver, I have more enegy, cleared up my sun damaged skin, my surgical scars faded away, improved my vision & clarity, and a major pain reliever for my osteoporosis, and much more. I think you should get off that fence!

  15. Wendy says:

    I started CEs when my liver enzymes went thru the roof. In six months, my blood tests showed back to normal. I have been doing these for over 4 years and have never had a bad experience that I can say is directly connected. I will say that it is important to “refill” the body, drinking water during the day. Also if interested, you can use a slotted spoon and check for parasites. I have done this and was aghast at what came out. Better out than in. Once you get past the yuk factor, the positives abound. I do theses once weekly and feel this is the right amount for me. Re: dangers. Anyone who is stupid enough to ram a nozzle up or use hot solutions have already lost brain cells and even coffee won’t fix that. Be logical and informative. Read read read Before you start. I am going thru Epstein Barr and am grateful that I am knowledgeable about CEs as I am helping my body discard the dead virus cells rather than wait for my sluggish system to kick in. Also I know that had I not started this protocol, I would be much sicker than I am. Hooray for CEs!

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