Coffee Enemas 101

Published by Rebecca Baron on

Disclaimer: The Carrot Campaign does not intend to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide readers with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.

You want me to put that, where?

Oh yes, that I do. Well it depends, of course. In fact, I have given myself hundreds of coffee enemas and don’t plan on stopping. It took me a couple of years to warm up to the idea of it, but the relief I felt after my first one made me wonder why I didn’t try them sooner?

The Theory and Benefits

I have always heard from articles and the research done by the Gerson Institute that coffee enemas work by stimulating the liver. Caffeine activates the vagus pathways of the intestines, combined with compounds in coffee called cafestol palmitate, theobromine, and theophylline; helps widen the blood vessels open up the bile ducts of the gallbladder.

Then comes lovely glutathione S-transferase, a “blood scrubbing” enzyme made by the liver; where studies have shown the coffee enemas boosts its production and assimilation into the bloodstream [3]. Regular coffee enemas have been shown to help decongest the liver and gallbladder area, which often are bombarded in modern-day society with processed foods, excessive sugar and alcohol, and prescription medication.

“Caffeine can be also used in combination with some medications in a suppository dosage form. This data lends support to the notion that caffeine can be absorbed into systemic circulation when administered via the rectum or colon.” [Teekachunhatean, et al]

Image from Pixabay

Coffee enemas, when done properly, can be a safe and effective way to boost liver function. Though coffee enemas target the liver more than the large intestine, they can also improve conditions of the colon without causing dependence. Some users swear that coffee enemas help with yeast infections or candida, some parasites, and inflammation in the gut from gluten irritation.

While we acknowledge and believe the liver is a powerful self sufficient organ, we believe coffee enemas and a diet rich in vegetables help aid the liver’s longevity over the years.

First Things First: They Aren’t For Everyone

Before we dive in, I want to start off by stating they are not for everyone. Rather than put this towards the end of this article where you may skip, I want to be clear and upfront the people who shouldn’t be trying them, unless under the supervised care of a professional. There are certain conditions where you absolutely NOT do coffee enemas.

“People should always speak to a doctor before undergoing a coffee enema to ensure they don’t have any health risks that could keep them from successfully performing it.”

– Medical News Today 2017

People who SHOULD NOT DO coffee enemas

  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Chron’s Disease
  • Any wounds or bleeding in the colon
    • Even those with hemorrhoids should exercise caution
    • If you’ve had part or all of your colon removed
  • If you are currently undergoing chemotherapy
  • Renal, cardiac or respiratory failure
  • Up to two months after major surgery

This list is recommended by the Gerson Institute, the pioneer of coffee enemas. Click here to get to their website.

Origin Story

Coffee enemas were first well documented in 1917 during World War I in Germany when morphine had to be rationed due to limited supplies. While doctors would use pain relief for amputations and surgeries, they could not spare any for aftercare.

Nurses, looking for any kind of pain relief for their patients decided to try adding coffee to enemas instead of plain water enemas. They began to notice the soldiers that had the enemas with coffee healed quicker and had higher survival rates septicemia.

Dr. Max Gerson, who invented the Gerson Protocol, came upon findings in his medical journals and tried them first to cure smaller skin tuberculosis; and found a high success rate. He then later tried his therapy on other ailments and his therapy is carried on to this day.

In fact, coffee enemas were mentioned in the MERCK medical journals until 1972 and were mentioned in articles dating as far back as the 1800’s. Due to awareness of coffee enemas through the Gerson Institute and recent documentaries, peer-reviewed research has undergone in the last five years, at universities around the world. So they went out of fashion for a while, until becoming popular again in the mainstream after documentaries about the Gerson Protocol came out.

It was for these reasons why I felt comfortable to first try them. If you want to hear more about my experience with coffee enemas, you can check out my storytime video on YouTube:

How to do a Coffee Enema

You will need:

  • 2-3 tbsp of ground light roast ORGANIC coffee
    • Organic light roast (breakfast blend)
    • Green, unroasted therapy coffee designed especially for coffee enemas (Available online here).
  • 1 quart of distilled water
  • A medium-sized stainless steel cooking pot
  • Strainer, paper towels or a cheese-cloth
  • An enema kit (rubber bag or plastic/metal bucket type)
  • Rubbing alcohol, unscented Castille type soap
  • Coconut oil, or water-based lubricant

Types of Enema Kits

There are three types of enema kits recommended for coffee enemas:

1st: Rubber bag with nozzle hose.

My favorite because they are easy to clean, and keeps the coffee solution warm, not hot.

2nd: Metal Bucket (sometimes sold in plastic). Plastic is less preferable for long term use, due to leaching plastic chemicals with heat.

3rd: The disposable bottle(s)– found in most pharmacies and typically comes with a pre-lubricated tip. Good for emergencies or travel (some people insist on keeping their schedule up on the road). When no other option is available, you can empty the saline water out of the prepackaged enemas, and fill with the coffee solution. Four bottles usually hold around 1 quart.

Directions

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First, coffee enemas are best done in the morning, after having a bowel movement and a bit of food to get the digestive juices flowing.

Bring two-thirds of a quart of distilled water to a boil in a stainless steel pot. Once the water has reached a boil, then add 2-3 tbsp of organic ground coffee and then reduced the heat to a simmer for 15 mins.

While the coffee simmers, now would be a good time to set up your station where you will take the coffee enema, usually the bathroom. I prefer to lay down a few towels, use a rolled-up yoga mat to use as a headrest, and light a few candles to make the area relaxing. Run hot water with unscented soap or some rubbing alcohol through your enema kit to make sure it’s nice & clean.

Never share enema equipment, not even with family members.

Since the coffee solution is being introduced into the body through the back door, it does not have stomach acid or the liver to filter through it. This is why it’s imperative to use clean water (distilled or purified through reverse-osmosis), clean equipment (that isn’t shared) and only organic ground coffee, preferably breakfast or light roast.

After 15 minutes, line a strainer with paper towels or cheesecloth and strain the coffee solution into a bowl. Top the rest of the quart of water into the solution, which helps cool it down. (A coffee enema is not the same strength as a coffee you would drink, it’s much more diluted.)

Never administer a coffee enema above body temperature, to prevent burns. The body easily takes warm over cold though, so with a CLEAN finger, do a dip-test to see it’s a temperature comfortable for you.

Lay on your right side (fetal position) to help the coffee reach the liver region

Pour the contents into your enema bucket, lubricate the nozzle petroleum jelly or coconut oil. Insert into the colon carefully. Only use soft rubber tips if you have hemorrhoids, and never do coffee enemas if you have hemorrhoids that are bleeding.

Lie on your right side, similar to a fetal position, and hold the coffee enema for a maximum of 15 minutes. Research has shown that there are no added benefits to exceeding fifteen minutes.

Most newcomers need to work their way up to fifteen minutes, for the first time aim for at least 10 minutes. Some days will take better than others, even for the experienced user. Warm coffee solutions tend to take easier than chill or cold solutions. Another reason why it’s a good idea to only use freshly brewed enemas and not to store them overnight in the fridge. Oh and, don’t re-heat coffee enemas in the microwave!

Reflexology Tip: press your thumb towards the knuckle of your ring finger to fight off tummy spasms while holding the enema.

Once your 15-minute timer goes off, you are free to go release in the toilet. Using a footstool to pull yourself more into a squat position will further assist with releasing. Give your body ample time to release the enema and other contents, some people report the bladder will release urine at the end as a sign of completion.

Make sure to drink some coconut water, or have a green juice to replenish any electrolytes lost during the release. Stay hydrated throughout the day and try to have 3 green juices in between each coffee enema.

Coffee enemas can beneficial to the liver when done properly. Keep in mind you need to use DISTILLED WATER and ORGANIC COFFEE, without any flavors.

What risks you will need to consider:

  • Not using clean distilled water, and high-quality organic coffee free of pesticides, fungicides, additives, flavors, and mold.
    • Remember, there is no stomach acid to break down foreign substances when taking it through the lower intestine, so exercise care and caution preparing your own enema solutions.
  • The cleanliness of your equipment
  • The temperature of the coffee solution- body temperature to prevent burns.
  • Being too forceful with insertion or doing enemas with hemorrhoids.
  • Performing them excessively or while having medical conditions where they are advised against.

Common Misbeliefs

There have only been a handful of complications over the last six decades regarding coffee enemas, mainly cases where the individual applied too hot of a solution and suffered burns, tear to tissue from too forceful insertion, or they had a condition where they should not have been performing coffee enemas. In comparison to the numbers of deaths annually from complications with prescription drugs, medical mistakes or complications- coffee enemas are generally safe.

Here are some of the commonly held arguments against coffee enemas.

Myth #1- What About All That Caffeine?

Some people argue about caffeine’s effect on the circulation system. Contrary to belief, the concentration of a coffee enema is only 2 tbsp of ground coffee per 1 quart of water. That is one diluted cup of coffee! Peer-reviewed research published with the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health did an analysis comparing coffee enemas to drinking a normal cup ‘o joe.

This research was done in 2017 at the Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Though their methods did not mention the use of organic coffee, results were beneficial.

“A single administration of either the coffee enema or the coffee drink produced no statistical change in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate when compared to their own baseline values” [1]

Results showed that coffee enemas have a reduced caffeine intake than the amount you would drink; partly due to the fact the coffee is held briefly, then released.

Done 1-3 times a week, and with consideration of the amount of caffeinated beverages you consume; coffee enemas are in a gentle safe range for the heart and circulation system. You need the caffeine to make the solution work, so don’t use decaffeinated coffee, ever. If you are caffeine sensitive, consider doing them only early in the morning, and less frequently.

Myth #2- You Will Become Dependent

A standard coffee enema is only one quart of coffee solution, and the colon needs several quarts to completely fill the walls. So coffee enemas do not distend the large intestine

Colonics though, use liters of liquid to fully extend the lower bowel and often deplete electrolytes and gut flora in the colon. Colonics have been shown to cause dependency, but since coffee enemas aid in colon flushing as a secondary benefit over a primary benefits, people tend not to notice any dependency for bowel movements. Coffee enemas in fact, have shown to help improve motitlity and stool consistency.

Myth #3- Any Coffee Will Do

Coffee Enemas- do it right, or don’t do it at all!

Let me stress once last time that when done properly, coffee enemas are generally safe to do at home. While there are some “experts” out there trying to put their spin on this method of liver flushing, you should never apply coffee enemas that are made with non-organic coffee and purified water. The Gerson protocol has hundred of cases studies showing success with their method of doing them, and so that is the only way I do mine too.

Don’t try to be a novice, don’t mess with perfection.

Myth #4- They Are Cure- Alls

“An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure..”

-your mother

Coffee enemas can be very beneficial, but they are not a cure-all. I’m afraid to say I’ve seen a trend of “othrorexia” (an eating condition that is characterized by an obsession or fixation on “healthy eating) and excessive flushing in circles of the health community. Trending the phrase “clean eating” has made some obsessed and even anxiety ridden over the purity of their bodies.

I hate to break it you, but we all expire one day. So order dessert. Every individual must find their happy balance of a well-balanced diet and a well-balanced life.

Coffee enemas, unlike other kinds of enemas, are meant to help the liver. The caffeine opens the bile ducts to release congestion in the upper right quadrant accessory organs such as the gallbladder and liver. Some holistic people circulate ideas that they aid in healing cancer, but it is not my place or others to direct a person on their course of treatment. The Gerson Institute says that chemotherapy can be too hard on the liver, and you must work with a medical expert if applying coffee enemas with chemotherapy. I do not pretend to have the all-knowing answers to such tough medical conditions but will advocate with confidence in the pursuit of a well-balanced life with preventive care.

What I do know is this: a lifestyle of prevention will help you more than trying to rely on a “miracle cleanse” after decades of poor dietary choices.

Conclusion

I hope I provided a better understanding of the science and practice of coffee enemas, and answered any questions you might have. While they have benefited myself and thousands of people over the years, they are not for everyone; and I trust that you will weigh the options and your doctor’s input before deciding to try one.

For the love of food & all that’s good

References

1] Supanimitt Teekachunhatean, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine following a Single Administration of Coffee Enema versus Oral Coffee Consumption in Healthy Male Subjects Published 3/4/2013 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603218/

2] The Gerson Institute https://gerson.org/gerpress/the-gerson-therapy/

3] Medical News Today “Would I Benefit from a Coffee Enema?”


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