Coffee Enemas, Benefits and Risks
Coffee enemas are nothing new, but a recent story about how one Florida couple became hooked on these enemas has cast a spotlight on this alternative health technique. Here’s what experts and scientific research says about the risks and benefits of coffee enemas.
How do you take your coffee?
Enemas were used during ancient times by the Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians, and Greeks, although it’s likely coffee was not their liquid of choice. In fact, there are many other types of healthful enemas, as are mentioned below.
Coffee enemas reportedly were first used during World War I when German medics discovered that coffee was more effective than water when used as an enema to help with pain relief after surgery on wounded soldiers. Subsequent research of the pain-reducing abilities of coffee resulted in published reports that coffee enemas helped open up the bile ducts, which facilitated the removal of waste and toxins from the body.
This caught the attention of Dr. Max Gerson, best known for Gerson Therapy, a controversial alternative treatment for cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases. Coffee enemas are an essential part of Gerson Therapy.
According to the Gerson Institute, coffee enemas increase the ability of the liver to detox the body by stimulating an enzyme in the liver (glutathione-S-transferase), which helps remove free radicals (cell-damaging molecules) from the body. Coffee enemas reportedly also can increase the flow of bile.
Other reported benefits of coffee enemas are their ability to boost peristalsis, which helps eliminate material from the bowels, and also hydrate the colon, another benefit in moving stool through the bowel. For individuals with cancer, use of coffee enemas are said to help remove toxins associated with chemotherapy and the cancer itself.
When you drink coffee, you absorb the caffeine and other components in coffee (e.g. antioxidants, palmitic acid, theobromine) through your digestive tract. Caffeine can raise heart rate, cause increased urination, and restrict blood vessels.
When you have a coffee enema, these substances are absorbed by the portal venous system, which transports them to the liver, thus bypassing the stomach. Once in the liver, the organ processes the caffeine and indirectly raises glutathione (a potent antioxidant) levels via palmitic acid.