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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

17 Responses to “Coffee Enemas: Is This A Health Practice Worth Trying?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Love In The Kitchen, TREVOR JOHNSTON. TREVOR JOHNSTON said: I’ll Take My Coffee To Go… Um, Where Exactly?: A couple of weeks ago, a good friend commented on her status abou... [...]
  2. massybird said…
    Interesting... I just watched a program on this topic, along with a segment on Suzzane Summers, on Dateline last night. Have you seen it?
  3. Hayley said…
    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.
  4. AmyLu said…
    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. Link to first paper mentioned: 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.
  5. Cristina said…
    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.
  6. AmyLu said…
    A health practitioner friend told me about this medical monograph that has the info you're looking for: One Man Alone, by Dr. Nick Gonzalez. (Here is a link if anyone wants to see a description:
  7. Jamie said…
    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.
  8. Frankie Hols said…
    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.
  9. Lyne said…
    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.
  10. Stephanie said…
    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!

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