Coffee Enemas 101
Yes- this article is all about butt coffee; as in putting coffee in an enema bag and funnelling it into your colon, where you hold it for an extended period of time before releasing it back out. Why on earth? I'm here today to tell you why and how, so buckle up because it's going to be an interesting one.
Quick business: there is a lot of information about coffee enemas out there, and like any holistic healing tool there are people who swear by it and others who claim it is the devils work. I am here to share with you my research and my intuitive experience: take it or leave it. Coffee enemas have changed my life for the better, so it is truly my pleasure to share this information with you.
Coffee enemas are one of my favourite subjects (sparking coffee enema convos with strangers is no joke one of my favourite hobbies). The subject is a little odd, but coffee enemas have such profound healing properties that I have zero qualms talking about it (/shouting it from the rooftops). I personally do them at least once a week, and have been doing them weekly for years now. I legit took my silicone travel enema bag (see below for more info) around the world with me and have been doing enemas from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between.
I first learnt about coffee enemas when I was living in Australia, surrounded by incredibly holistic and thriving humans. The concept honestly didn't gross me out at all from the start; a friend I greatly respected told me about the benefits, and I hopped online to learn more; in very little time I was convinced without a doubt that coffee enemas were the shit (literally and figuratively). People were successfully using coffee enemas as a part of a systemized protocol to cure terminal cancer, and I'm living a life of disease prevention; implementing these powerful healing tools while I'm healthy is my way of supporting my body and doing everything I can to thrive. A friend actually bought me my first enema kit (#friendshipgoals) and I dove in head first (well... butt first).
Coffee Enemas 101
1. Enema Kits
Unless you're super crafty (and also a serious dare devil)... you will need an enema kit to do a coffee enema. There are many options, and my initial bag was ghettoAF (plastic), but I highly recommend avoiding anything in cheap plastic that off-gases VOC's. That stuff is toxic and also is hard to properly clean. Your two options are the silicone "travel" bag, or the stainless steel bucket. I personally love the silicone bag, it's easy to store away (you probably don't want to leave a big enema bucket laying around), but either of these two options is fantastic. Click image below to learn more.
2. The Water
If you know me at all you will know my passionate distain for tap water. You absolutely do not want to use tap water to perform an enema. The coffee simmers for quite a while (see instructions below)- and so simmering tap water will result in a concentrate of heavy metals, fluoride, and all the other n-a-s-t-y chemicals found in tap liquid. What boils off when you simmer tap water is distilled water, and you're just left with all the bad stuff. Coffee enemas are deeply healing, the water you use should be properly filtered (like reverse osmosis), distilled, or spring water.
3. The Coffee
ORGANIC, I REPEAT: ORGANIC. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops the planet, you shouldn't touch non-organic coffee with a 10 foot pole, and you definitely shouldn't attempt a healing protocol such as this using poison. Conventional coffee is riddled with poison.
So you want organic coffee, and the roast doesn't really matter. The Gerson Institute suggest a medium roast but(t) honestly focus on the quality (organic); don't worry too much about the roast. I personally get organic beans from the bulk section of my local organic store and grind them fresh. The roast I get is processed and roasted in a solar powered factory in Honduras... I like to think the solar powered factor adds some seriously good vibes to my enema.
Coffee Enemas: WHY?
Coffee itself is something I stopped consuming orally years ago. I used to be an avid coffee drinker and lover, but completely stopped drinking it because of many factors that I explored in depth in THIS article. Coffee consumed orally actually burdens the liver by shutting off bile ducts. Coffee up the poop shoot however, is a totally different story.
Coffee enemas were discovered by accident in Germany during World War I when there was a shortage of pain killers and many wounded soldiers. Water enemas were given regularly to the soldiers to relieve constipation, and coffee flowed in abundance to keep the doctors and nurses awake. Long story short: coffee enemas were found to relieve the soldiers severe pain without any painkillers. This information prompted the research into coffee enemas in years following the war... and there was a lot more going on than simply pain relief.
In a nutshell, it was discovered that coffee enemas support the livers ability to detoxify by boosting the body's endogenous production of an enzyme called glutathione s-transferase. Glutathione stimulates the excretion of more bile through the walls of the colon, which move through the digestive tract and help to remove and neutralize free radicals and other harmful toxins. The importance of a well-functioning liver is paramount to your overall health: our livers and colon are under constant stress due to environmental toxicity, and a build up of toxins/ stagnation leads to disease.
The coffee enema has been popularized in the health industry by German physician Max Gerson, MD, who used coffee enemas as an integral part of healing terminal cancer patients. His cure rate for terminally ill cancer patients was 50%! As so, the Gerson method is widely regarded as the go-to coffee enema protocol. The science is catching up, but what I love most about the Gerson Therapy is that Dr. Gerson did not know the mechanics of how it worked, all he knew is that it did work. I think there is something truly beautiful about practitioners healing intuitively and yielding powerful results.
- Repairing digestive tissue
- Cleansing the liver
- Improving blood circulation
- Cleansing the blood
- Boosting immunity
- Helping with cellular regeneration
- Relieving digestive issues, such as frequent constipation, bloating, cramping and nausea
- Improving gut health
- Improving low energy levels and moods (such as fighting signs of depression)
- Improving digestion
- Helping eliminate parasites
- Relieves pain (including PMS, cramping, migraines, headaches)
- Improves mental clarity
- Reduces Herxheimer Effect associated with detox (including "die off" symptoms)
- Reduces candida
- Improves acne and skin problems (like eczema)
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A COFFEE ENEMA?
(via the Gerson Institute)
1. Coffee is Held in the Intestines
First, a Gerson patient holds the coffee enema in the colon for 12-15 minutes. During this time, the body’s entire blood supply passes through the liver 4-5 times, filtering free radicals, ammonia-like products, toxic-bound nitrogen, and protein derivatives, which are often charged particles similar to free radicals, polyamines, amino acids, and other substances released from body tissues due to cellular detoxification stimulated by a potassium rich diet.
2. Caffeine is Absorbed by the Liver
Because no formal studies have taken place of the inner workings of coffee enemas, it’s difficult to determine exactly what occurs inside the body. However, it is believed that during rectal caffeine infusion, such as a coffee enema, caffeine travels via the hemorrhoidal vein and the portal system to the liver, causes the bile ducts to open and allows the liver to release bile which is bound to toxins filtered from the bloodstream. The theobromine, theophylline, and the caffeine in coffee dilate blood vessels and bile ducts, relax smooth muscles, and increase the bile flow.
3. Liver Stimulated to Filter Blood & Produce Bile
Enemas in general can stimulate the liver and gallbladder. It was proven in an article from 1929 in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported by investigators at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York that a variety of different enema solutions cause an increase of bile flow from the liver.
Doctors at the University of Minnesota, headed by Lee W. Wattenberg, revealed that coffee stimulates an enzyme system in the liver called glutathione S-transferase by 600%-700% above normal activity levels. This enzyme reacts with cell damaging free radicals in the bloodstream, makes them inert, and prevents further impairment.
4. Toxic Bile is Diluted and Flushed from the Body
It is theorized these neutralized free radicals are removed from the bloodstream and dissolved in the bile. They are then released through the bile flow from the liver and gallbladder into the intestines, and then excreted through the intestinal tract. Patients using the Gerson Therapy have this toxic release stimulated 3-5 times per day with each coffee enema, and this is found to be helpful in reducing cellular damage.
The purpose of the coffee enema is not to clear out the intestines; however the quart of water in the enema does stimulate peristalsis in the gut. A portion of the water also dilutes the bile and increases its flow, thereby flushing toxic bile, loaded with toxins created by the glutathione S-transferase enzyme system, out of the intestines when the enema is released.
NOTE: I do not endorse doing multiple coffee enemas a day; the Gerson therapy protocol was devised for terminally ill cancer patients, so unless you are seriously ill (in which case you should seek guidance directly from the Institute), multiple coffee enemas a day is totally unnecessary. Personally, I incorporate them once a week to boost my body's glutathione production, support my liver in detoxification, and clean my blood. When I was doing a serious detox and parasite cleanse, I did coffee enemas 5-7x a week for three months.
WHY NOT A COLONIC?
Colonics are very popular in the health industry and yet are essentially pointless unless you're seriously constipated. Colonics simply clear the colon, and in fact the way they are done using pressurized water can actually be rather harmful to the body. Traditional colonics were done on a coleman board that uses gravity and an enema kit to gently flush water in and out of the colon. Modern colonics use pressurized water, and I fundamentally don't think we should be using pressure to force anything into the body. Irrelevant of pressure, colonics don't provide any of the medicinal benefits that coffee has in terms of of increasing the liver's ability to detoxify.
Coffee Enemas: HOW?
First of all, just get over the seemingly gross/ intrusive nature of the enema process- let it go. It's just your bum. It's a part of your body, you're doing it for your health- and believe it or not once you get the hang of it, it's extremely easy, and mess-free. If it's your first time, you could set yourself up in the bath, but pretty much from the get go I just did them on the bathroom floor. When I was living in Maui I actually did them outside- which was the most epic experience ever. We literally had an "enema tree" that had a little protruding branch to hang the bag on, out in the back area in a secluded little area of the organic farm I was living at.
The process is pretty simple, and the protocol I use is from the Gerson Institute.
1. Bring a large pot filled with 4 cups spring water to boil, and add in 3 tbsp organic coffee grounds
2. Let the water + coffee boil for 5 minutes, and then simmer on low for 15 minutes
3. Strain the liquid (discarding the coffee grinds) and let cool to room temperature. You should be able to stick your finger in the pot and not feel it getting warm.
4. Place the coffee in the enema bag, and release a bit of coffee out of the bag into the sink to remove the air from the tube.
5. Set up the enema bag and lie on your right side in fetal position with your knees bent inwards and up towards your stomach. Insert the nozzle about 2 inches into the rectum and allow the coffee to begin flowing. Once empty, withdraw the nozzle/ tube.
6. Hold the coffee enema in the colon for a minimum of 12-15 minutes (I personally hold it 22 minutes). Ideally you want to lay on your right side throughout.
Note: Holding the enema can be hard to do your first (couples of) time(s) as the impulse to release it can be pretty powerful. See link at the bottom of the article for tips by Gerson Institue on how to hold enemas for a longer duration.
7. Clean the equipment using castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's)
The only thing I would suggest if you are going to be doing enemas would be to incorporate probiotic rich foods (or a probiotic capsule) into your diet. Coffee enemas will not flush out your entire gut flora, but having anything in your colon will inevitably result in a slight depletion of your flora. Truthfully you should always include probiotic rich foods (like kefir, sauerkraut, beetroot kvass, or yogurt) in your diet, but especially post-enema.
The only dangers associated with coffee enemas are 1. burning the rectum/ colon due to using hot coffee and 2. imbalanced gut flora/ colon health due to completing too many enemas without adequate nutritional support
so 1. don't use hot coffee (*face palm*) and 2. don't over do it, and make sure your diet is on point.
That's it folks! Whose keen to jump on the coffee enema train? They have personally changed my life, and the lives of so many people I know. I'd love to hear about your experiences/ success stories, and feel free to ask question too: comment below!
A Deeper Dive
Healing the Gerson Way, by Charlotte Gerson
The Gerson Therapy: the Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses, by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker
The Complete Guide To Coffee Enemas, by Dodee J Schmitt
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, by Robert S. Porter
Articles/ Websites/ #science
- The Gerson Institute: Coffee Enemas HERE
- Coffee Enema FAQs from the Gerson Institute HERE
- Helpful Hints: What to Do When You Can’t Hold a Coffee Enema HERE
- Coffee Enema FAQ from Dr. Wilson HERE
- Coffee Enemas: Helping the Body Detoxify HERE
- The Biologic Basis of Coffee Enemas HERE
- Helping the Body Detoxify HERE
- How to Use Coffee Enemas to Detoxify & Heal from Cancer HERE
Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine following a Single Administration of Coffee Enema versus Oral Coffee Consumption in Healthy Male Subjects HERE
Coffee Enema for Preparation for Small Bowel Video Capsule Endoscopy: A Pilot Study HERE
Potential chemoprotective effects of the coffee components kahweol and cafestol palmitates via modification of hepatic N-acetyltransferase and glutathione S-transferase activities. HERE
Enema Solution for Candida: How Enema Can Help Get Rid of Your Candida HERE