Are Coffee Enemas Really Safe?

For centuries, in several regions of the World people have developed methods for enemas for therapy. The very first use of enemas dates as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece. Early Greek physicians routinely used enemas to treat various ailments. It is one of the oldest medical procedures still in use today. So when did people start performing coffee enemas and why?

It is said that German surgeons near the end of WWI did not have enough morphine to give their patients after surgery for post-op pain due to severely limited resources. The nurses decided to add coffee to the water enemas prescribed to some of the soldiers for constipation. Coffee was readily on hand for the doctors working long shifts and the nurses felt it might have a positive effect on the patients. Just as the nurses predicted, the patients reported considerable pain relief from the coffee enemas. Intrigued by these results, two German professors decided to further investigate the effects of caffeine taken as an enema. They discovered that when the caffeine entered the liver it caused an increase in bile flow permitting a build up of toxins to be released and expelled from the body. Years later, a German doctor by the name of Max Gerson, recognizing the importance of detoxification began including coffee enemas into his therapy. His dietary-based therapy which began as a treatment for tuberculosis developed into an alternative treatment for cancer which is still very prevalent today. Many types of enemas, including coffee enemas, have appeared in medical and nursing textbooks. (McClain, 1950). Coffee enemas were mentioned in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, a handbook of traditional medical treatments, through the Twelfth Edition, published in 1972. In more recent studies performed, coffee enemas were shown to stimulate an enzyme system (glutathione S-transferase) in the liver. This intensified the discharge of toxic free radicals from the bloodstream by multiplying this enzyme 600% to 700%.

Coffee enemas have continued to steadily garner acceptance as a natural, holistic therapy but despite the scientific research and thousands of cases of improved health, many members of the medical community do not accept coffee enemas as a viable therapy. Some physicians even regard coffee enemas as unsafe but why?

The consensus among these physicians could be based on case reports of patients who reportedly acquired electrolyte imbalances and infections after performing several coffee enemas and died. (Eisele & Reay, 1980; Margolin & Green, 1984) Investigation into these cases however determined that the patients were extremely ill, possibly terminal and that the imbalance and or infections could have evolved due to the patient’s illnesses. It has also been confirmed that of the 3 cases ever reported, two of the patients were performing coffee enemas every 2 hours for 24 hours. Even in the most rigorous of programs under supervision it is unlikely this regimen would ever be recommended. To put this statistic of the 3 isolated reported fatalities into perspective, it is important to know that coffee enemas have been performed hundreds of thousands of times over the last hundred years. This statistic is staggeringly low considering 450 people happen to die from falling out of bed in the US every year. 75 people die yearly by operating a lawn mower, 15 from falling icicles and 2 by using vending machines. Thousands of people die annually from the side effects of taking over the counter medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen in the US yet none of these common occurrences are considered dangerous. Maybe coffee enemas are discouraged because they are an organic, cost effective, non invasive, self administering way of taking control of your health that does not involve expensive, even harmful medical treatments, surgeries or medications?

To date there are a considerable amount of very profitable healthcare issues that people are choosing to use coffee enemas to help treat. Coffee enemas are used to alleviate severe pain, nausea, general nervous tension and depression as well as treat numerous illnesses, many of them life threatening. With very little evidence to suggest that coffee enemas are an unsafe practice it could be assumed that coffee enemas are actually quite safe and effective. Unfortunately, in the modern business of making people well, coffee enemas just wouldn’t be good business.


American Nutrition AssociationNutrition Digest Volume 38, no.2Deadly

Beverly Jenkins10 Incredibly Bizarre Death StatisticsCategory: strange stories December 12,

Dyfed LoescheUnusual Causes of Death in the US September 28, 2016

Enema History: How enemas evolved through history  Linda L. Isaacs, M.D.

Gar HildenbrandReprint: Healing Newsletter, NL#13, May-June, 1986Coffee Enemas-History

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