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.