by John P. Thomas

Why does Big Pharma hate coffee enema therapy? The answer is that coffee enemas are a powerful liver detoxification tool, a pain relieving therapy, and a therapy for cleansing and healing the colon. Retention coffee enemas are a key part of successful alternative cancer treatment protocols, because they rid the body of toxins that cause cancer and eliminate the toxins released by dead and dying cancer cells. Coffee enemas do all this and more without side effects and at minimal cost.

Coffee is More than a Beverage – It can be a Healing Herb

When coffee is used in an enema it has powerful healing effects.
Definition of a retention coffee enema: Two or more cups of a coffee/water mixture are introduced into the colon/bowel through a tube placed in the rectum, and held in place for a period of time while the coffee herb stimulates the liver, reduces pain, and increases the process of eliminating toxins through the intestine.

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD, adds these additional benefits that can be obtained from coffee enemas. Coffee enemas are part of the nutritional balancing program that he teaches to physicians. Dr. Wilson states that coffee enemas:

  • Clean and heal the colon
  • Detoxify the liver and colon and help rebuild the liver
  • Reduce many types of pain
  • Help eliminate many parasites
  • Reduce and get rid of many symptoms of general toxicity. Since toxicity is the cause of dozens of common symptoms from arthritis to cancer, coffee enemas help with many, if not most diseases and conditions
  • Help with depression, confusion, and general nervous tension
  • Increase mental clarity, improve energy levels, increase joy and happiness, improve digestion, and reduce anger
  • Enable clients to get through difficult healing and purification reactions
  • [Dr. Wilson adds] — at least three dozen clients have confided to me “coffee enemas saved my life”

Dr. Linda L. Isaacs, MD, an alternative cancer treatment specialist who prescribes coffee enemas for her cancer patients, describes the toxic soup that surrounds each of us in the 21st century:

The environment today is very different from the environment of our ancestors. Over the last 200 years a host of chemicals have been introduced to our food, air, and water. Many of these chemicals have not been tested for safety or are assumed to be safe in low concentrations, without taking into account that the simultaneous presence of many low-concentration pollutants may have negative effects on our health. Some chemicals, such as the endocrine disruptors dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have been banned in the United States for years, but persist in the environment and food chains. Since these chemicals have been associated with a variety of illnesses, a number of “detoxification” procedures have been developed that are thought to help eliminate these substances from the body.

There is Strong Opposition to Coffee Enemas

In large part, I gauge the power of alternative therapies by the level of opposition that I find on the internet. Based on the level of ‘quackwatch-type’ publishing against coffee enemas, I conclude that the coffee enema must be a very powerful tool for healing many common problems. Sadly, the intense disinformation campaign may have even turned some alternative health practitioners against coffee enemas.

It is quite fascinating to learn that conventional physicians once used coffee enemas as a routine part of patient care. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, which is a compendium of conventional medical treatments, provided information about the use of coffee enemas for at least 60 years through the 12th edition published in 1972.

The official explanation given by the editors of the Merck Manual for dropping the therapy from their books is that they no longer had space for it.

I don’t believe that coffee enema therapy has passively fallen from the reference books for lack of space. Rather, it has been targeted by Big Pharma and conventional medicine to be maligned and exterminated.

Research Articles Target Coffee Enemas for Destruction

Single case examples can be found in the medical literature database of PubMed, which warn of dire consequences for using coffee enema therapy. It is really only a handful of reports, which have been repeated and reprocessed from article to article. For example, a 2010 letter to the editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology gave a serious warning against the use of coffee enemas as part of alternative therapies. They cited 3 cases of people who developed Proctocolitis (inflammation of the rectum and colon) several days after taking a coffee enema. This was their conclusion:

“Coffee enema has no proven benefit and carries considerable risk of provoking unwanted complications. Currently, we do not know which chemicals in coffee are responsible and what the mechanisms are, but it is certain that coffee enema should be reconsidered as an alternative treatment.”

There also are reports of electrolyte imbalances and dehydration resulting from coffee enemas that led to the deaths of two women. According to Dr. Isaacs, a closer look at these cases revealed that they were seriously, even terminally ill, and that the infections or electrolyte disturbances blamed on the coffee enemas could have come about simply because of the patients’ underlying disease.

One woman took 10 to 12 coffee enemas in a single night and then continued at a rate of one per hour afterward. In both cases, the enemas were taken much more frequently than is recommended. The Gerson cancer clinic uses 5 enemas per day spaced four hours apart.

And then there is the journal article prepared by doctors in the Republic of Korea, which warns us against using coffee enemas, because a woman gave herself a coffee enema with boiling hot coffee. The boiling hot coffee burned her rectum and colon. The conclusion given by the researchers concerning this report was “This case suggests that coffee enemas may lead to serious complications and their use as an alternative medical treatment should be reconsidered.”

The True Risks are Minimal Compared to Conventional Medical Treatment

To put the risks of coffee enemas into perspective, during a hospital based healthcare survey from 2007 through 2009, it was determined that 1 in 9 patients in the U.S. developed a hospital-acquired infection. A Health Grades report estimates that over 40,000 people are harmed by medical treatment in hospitals each and EVERY day. A 2006 study showed that sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 patients that year. Let us also not forget the pharmaceutical drug Vioxx that killed over 60,000 people before it was removed from the market.

However, if an alternative herbal therapy might have contributed to the illness or death of 6 people worldwide, then the quack alarm starts its high pitched quack-quack-quacking. That is the sound that conventional medicine and Big Pharma makes when a successful and unpatentable natural alternative therapy threatens their profit margin.

Brief History of the Coffee Enema

Dr. Isaacs describes the history of the coffee enema:

Coffee enemas have long been in use. In a case report in the Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal in December 1866, M.A. Cachot, MD, described successful use of a coffee enema to treat a child dying from an accidental poisoning. Articles from the late 1800s reported that coffee enemas were helpful in post-operative care; at a medical meeting in 1896, Dr. W.J. Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, mentioned coffee enemas as a routine part of care for patients after abdominal surgery. Coffee enemas were listed as a stimulant and as a treatment for shock in medical and nursing textbooks in the early 1900s. In an extensive 1941 article in Uruguayan Medical, Surgical and Specialization Archives, Dr. Carlos Stajano described immediate improvement in near-terminal patients after coffee enemas, including a patient with cocaine intoxication and a patient with post-operative shock.

In 1932, Harvard Medical School researchers treated bipolar disorder patients with coffee enemas and colonics. As a result, most were reportedly able to get off medications and return home.

What if dietary changes and coffee enemas could bring about such dramatic changes today? How would this cut into Big Pharma’s drug sales? Would the current medical system embrace the therapy?

Are Coffee Enemas Really Safe?

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD, has written extensively on the use of the coffee enema. For over 35 years he has worked as a nutrition consultant. He teaches the science of nutritional balancing to physicians and nutrition consultants. He addresses safety concerns about the coffee enema, which is a very important detoxification tool for those seeking to improve their health. Dr. Wilson states:

I have recommended coffee retention enemas to more than thirty thousand people. I have yet to hear about horrible side effects of any kind, although the procedure is somewhat inconvenient, especially at first. Most people get used to it quickly. The coffee retention enema is really quite simple, very safe when done properly, highly effective, able to be done in the privacy of your home, and inexpensive.

Coffee Enemas and Cancer

Coffee enemas, by themselves, will not cure cancer. They are a key part of the alternative cancer protocol that was developed by Dr. Max Gerson, MD, over 70 years ago. They were part of the cancer treatment protocol used by Dr. Donald Kelley, DDS, and used by the late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, and Linda L. Isaacs, MD, in their practice. Even though there are differences in these protocols, each emphasizes strict dietary modifications, various types of supplementation, and the daily use of coffee enemas to detoxify the liver and help control pain. The Gerson clinic still requires its inpatients to receive approximately 5 coffee enemas per day.

Mechanisms of Action for the Coffee Enema

Coffee contains ingredients that stimulate the functioning of the liver when introduced into the body through the colon. These effects are not produced by drinking coffee. Drinking coffee impairs liver activity.

Coffee contains caffeine and salts of palmitic acids (kahweol and cafestol palmitate), which are absorbed by the hepatic portal system located in the last section of the colon. The portal veins carry the caffeine and palmitic acids directly to the liver without digestion.

In the liver, kahweol and cafestol act as potent enhancers of glutathione S-transferase which is an important enzyme in the liver. It is part of a major detoxification system that catalyzes the binding of many toxins from the blood stream to the sulfhydryl group of glutathione so that the toxins can be released into the small intestine and excreted from the body. The caffeine dilates bile ducts and aids the emptying of toxic material from the gallbladder. Finally, the water in the enema stimulates activity of the intestines, which systematically moves the toxic substances released by the liver and gallbladder through the intestines so that they can be released out of the body through the rectum.

General Information about Doing a Retention Coffee Enema

I have read a large amount of information about doing coffee enemas and have been doing them from time to time for almost 4 decades. There are lots of variations on this therapy. It seems like each aspect of the coffee enema – from preparation of the coffee to the number of minutes the enema should be retained – has multiple interpretations. I will give a brief outline of the therapy to explain how it works. I will describe some of the variations between coffee enema proponents and help you consider what might be best for you. There is probably enough information here to help you safely do a coffee enema, but I recommend using the links at the end of the article to further your study, especially if you have a serious illness (please go to website for full article, links, and references). (I will not provide footnotes for the information in this section, because it has been compiled from many sources, many of which contain the identical information).

An enema bucket with tubing is used for the procedure. The bucket usually holds about 2 quarts of liquid, but will only be filled ¼ to ½ full of the coffee solution. The coffee solution must be body temperature. Do not use boiling hot coffee. A temperature between 98 to 100 degrees F is recommended.

Before starting to take the enema, spend some time sitting on the toilet to try to have a bowel movement and to eliminate accumulated gas. The most comfortable enemas are those that are taken after you have relieved yourself.

The person taking the enema will lie on a flat surface, and insert the lubricated tubing into his or her rectum, which has also been lubricated with coconut oil or olive oil. Insert the tubing about 3 inches into the rectum. Insert the tube gently. Imagine that you are pushing the tube toward your navel – this will help align the tube with the passageway of the rectum. The clamp on the tubing should be kept closed to prevent the coffee from flowing until the person is ready to start receiving the coffee. There are different recommendations regarding whether the person should lie on the back, left side or right side. Personally I prefer to start the process by lying on my back.

The enema bucket needs to be elevated about 18 inches above the level where the tube enters the rectum. Some people suggest that the bucket be 30 inches above the rectum – others say lower than 18 inches. The point is that there needs to be enough difference in height for the fluid to flow into the colon. If the colon has not been emptied recently, then extra height might be needed to overcome resistance from the accumulated faeces in the bowel.

The next step is to release the clamp. You will probably feel the liquid as it flows. If it feels like it is flowing uncomfortably fast, then lower the bucket or partially clamp the tubing. It can take 1 to 3 minutes to receive 2 to 4 cups of liquid. If it does not flow, then increase the height of the bucket.

When the bucket is empty, shut the clamp, and remove the tube. Roll over on your right side for a few minutes to help distribute the coffee in the colon. You can then spend some time on your back or left side. Feel free to roll from side to side as needed to make yourself more comfortable. Rubbing the top side of the toes on the left foot can be useful when there is cramping. Some people prefer to leave the tube in the rectum with the clamp open so that gas can escape through the tube.

You will want to retain the enema for at least 12 minutes. Some recommend retaining it for 15 to 20 minutes or longer perhaps up to 1 hour. Some recommend never holding it more than 15 minutes. Each therapist has reasons for their suggestions. Personally, I shoot for 12 to 20 minutes, and let my level of comfort dictate the length of the enema. If I have accumulated bowel gas, then this will make the enema more uncomfortable as the gas gets moved around in the colon by contractions of the muscles in the colon wall. If it becomes very uncomfortable and painful, then you should end the process sooner. You do not need to torture yourself. You can always repeat the process again later.

When you are ready to stop retaining the coffee, then get up and sit on the toilet. Relax and relieve yourself naturally. Your colon will do the work from this point forward. It will contract several times and release a combination of liquid and solid chunks of faeces. The first enemas will often contain hard dry chunks of faeces. After a series of enemas, the faeces will become softer. Some people do notice parasites in the toilet after the bowel has been emptied.

The smell of the material that is released is often quite strong. It is kind of hard to believe that something that smells that bad has been inside of us. Flush the toilet periodically to reduce some of the odour if you find it hard to tolerate the smell. Opening a window or turning on a bathroom fan before you start the release of the enema can be helpful.

After you finish emptying your bowel, which can take 10 minutes or so, then clean your bottom thoroughly. You might need to clean splashes from the toilet.

It is best to not leave home for an hour after taking a coffee enema, because sometimes there can be a secondary release of enema liquid if it didn’t all come out at the first sitting. Thus, don’t start the process unless you have the time to relax during and after the enema.

The bucket and tubing should be washed thoroughly with soap and hot water after using it. Some people like to rinse the equipment with peroxide after the soap and water flushing of the tubing to help sterilize it. Do not use antibacterial soap on the equipment, because it contains nasty chemicals, which can cling to the equipment and become part of your next enema. It is best to disconnect the tubing from the bucket and to hang it to dry. Leaving the tubing connected to the bucket can stretch the tubing and eventually cause a leak where it attaches to the bucket. If this happens, then just snip off an inch from the end of the tubing and it will fit snugly again.

People sometimes get really fearful or grossed out by the notion of bacteria coming out of their body during an enema. The truth is that the bacteria that live in our colons also live on the skin around our anus. Good hygiene after an enema is recommended, but it need not extend beyond basic soap and water.

Additional Considerations

The following paragraphs contain additional points to consider when doing a coffee enema.

Selecting Coffee

Only use organic coffee. Conventionally grown coffee contains pesticides, which will defeat the whole purpose of the enema. The organic coffee must contain caffeine. The caffeine is necessary to stimulate the cleansing of the liver. Do not use instant coffee or decaffeinated coffee.

Choosing the Darkness of the Coffee

Once again, there are lots of opinions about the darkness of the coffee, the method for brewing the coffee, and the amount of coffee that should be used for an enema.

Some people believe in using raw coffee beans. Some use extra light roast coffee. Some prefer light roast, medium roast, and even dark roast. There are rather intense points of view about this. In general, raw and very lightly roasted coffee will be highest in caffeine content, but may contain a naturally occurring toxin. These coffees will provide the strongest stimulation for the liver and the least level of discomfort during the enema. Light roast, medium roast, and dark roast will have less caffeine. The Gerson cancer clinic recommends either light or medium roast drip grind coffee.

Some people have an adverse reaction to the coffee if it contains mould. Many sources of coffee are not screened for mould content. If you are concerned, then seek organic enema coffee that has been tested to be mould-free. Yes, there are coffees that are intended for enemas and not for drinking. Otherwise, a high quality organic coffee will work well for most people.

Equipment for Making the Coffee

The purpose of doing a coffee enema is primarily detoxification. You are trying to get the liver to release accumulated toxins such as heavy metals, plasticising chemicals, and other toxic chemicals. This means you should not make the coffee in aluminum, stainless steel, or plastic containers or in equipment that has parts made of these materials. The best way to make coffee for an enema is to boil the coffee in a glass or porcelain lined pot. Once it has boiled for the needed time, then it can be strained with a very fine strainer or simply decanted by pouring off the liquid from the coffee grounds after they have settled to the bottom of the pot.

Do not use paper filters, because they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals. Do not use chlorinated tap water especially if it contains fluoride. Once again, these are the kinds of chemicals that you want to detox from your body. Some people discourage the use of spring water that is purchased in plastic and others discourage the use of reverse osmosis (RO) water. There are many pros and cons to water selection, and they are all worth investigating.

Boiling the Coffee

Opinions vary somewhat as to the strength for brewing coffee. The standard seems to be typically 2 or 3 rounded tablespoons of ground coffee per enema. If you find that you feel jittery after an enema, then you should reduce the strength of the coffee. Some people start with a half tablespoon or less per enema and gradually increase the strength over time.
If you will be doing more than one enema per day, then it might be recommended to make the enema coffee not quite as strong. The body actually absorbs very little caffeine from an enema as compared to when a person drinks coffee, however some is still absorbed. The goal is to avoid getting a coffee buzz from an enema. Some people like to take two back-to-back enemas with a short rest period in between. If you do this, then it is recommended to use 2 tablespoons or less per enema.

Length of Time for Brewing the Coffee

Some people say it should be boiled for exactly 12 minutes and then immediately strained. Others prefer 5 minutes of boiling followed by 15 minutes of steeping or very slow simmering. I prefer the 12 minute method with a moderate to low boil, not because I notice any difference in the enema, but I think the 12 minute boil makes coffee that smells better to me — even though I am not drinking it.

To make the coffee, add one cup of water and the desired amount of ground coffee to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for the desired time. I usually make 4 doses of coffee and store the extra in the refrigerator. When I do this, I start with 5.5 cups of water. After the 12 minutes of boiling and straining, I will have about 4 cups of finished coffee. I store it in a tightly sealed canning jar. It must be refrigerated to avoid mould and bacteria growth. If you boil away too much water, then simply add more at the end to bring the coffee back up to the desired amount.

Mixing the Coffee with Water for the Enema

Start by adding one cup of coffee to the enema bucket and one cup of clean water. If you want a larger volume in your enema, you can add up to a total of 3 cups of water. Some people recommend that the coffee enema should be no more than 2 cups of liquid, while others recommend 3 or 4 cups of liquid.

The temperature must be body temperature. Stick your pinky finger in the coffee mixture for a few seconds. If it feels hot, then wait and let the liquid cool. If it feels cold, then pour the liquid into a sauce pan and warm to body temperature. Do not microwave the coffee.

Choosing a Location for doing the Coffee enema

It is best to do the coffee enema in your bathroom or very nearby. Many people do the enema while lying on the floor. Make a comfortable pad to lay on with towels, which will also catch any spills. Some people use a closed cell foam yoga mat when doing their enemas. Others put the mat on a bed for more comfort.

Selecting Enema equipment

Some people use rubber enema bags that are open at the top or hot water bottles equipped with an enema hose and nozzle. These might be a little more convenient, but most smell of rubber or plastic, which is an indication that they will leach chemicals into the water. I have heard reports of the dye being released into the water when they are cleaned. You don’t want to add chemicals or dye to your enemas.

Enema buckets are preferred. The most common types are made of plastic or stainless steel. Plastic buckets are inexpensive, but may leach chemicals. Their advantage is that you can watch the level of coffee decrease as the enema progresses. Stainless buckets could leach nickel, but since the liquid is in the bucket for a short time, the leaching effect is hopefully minimal. Glass buckets are the best alternative. These are an investment in health. The best tubing will be made of medical grade silicon, which is often included with stainless steel or glass buckets.

After the Enema

Most people feel relaxed and refreshed after a coffee enema. Sometimes, however, a person might feel fatigued, nauseous, headachy, or foggy-brained after a coffee enema.

As I understand it, the solution to this situation is to take another enema. Apparently, toxins have been stirred up in the liver and gallbladder, but not fully released into the small intestine. The second enema will usually clear this up. If a person is extremely toxic, then sometimes two or three back-to-back enemas are needed to help a person feel good.

Some people report feeling dehydrated after coffee enemas. A coffee enema does not draw water from the body. In fact, in cases of dehydration, water from the enema is absorbed by the colon. If you tend to feel dehydrated after an enema, then perhaps you were already dehydrated before you began the enema process. The best solution is to drink water before you start the enema.


According to Dr. Wilson, coffee enemas will not interfere with pharmaceutical drugs. He advises that people consult their doctor if they are unsure. Coffee can antidote homeopathic remedies. Dr. Wilson indicated that coffee enemas appear to be completely safe during pregnancy when done properly. See the link to his article shown below for additional concerns about damage to healthy gut flora, electrolytes, and existing medical conditions.