Coffee Enema History and Instructions

Enemas are one of the oldest medical treatments known to man. The oldest known medical text, the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (1,500 B.C.), records the use of enemas. Enemas were in use throughout the ancient world in Samaria, Babylonia, India, Greece, Africa and China. Greek literature is filled with references of the therapeutic use of enemas. American Indians, as well as pre-Columbian South Americans crafted enema bags from animal bladders, latex and bones.

Dr. Peter Lechner

The purpose of the coffee enema is to support the liver in eliminating toxins and to cleanse the blood. In 1984 Dr. Peter Lechner from Graz, Austria stated, “Coffee enemas have a definite effect on the colon which can be observed with an endoscope. Wattenberg and co-workers were able to provide in 1981 that the palmitic acid found in coffee promotes the activity of glutathione S-transferase and other ligands by manifold times above the norm. It is this enzyme group which is responsible primarily for the conjugation of free electrophile radicals which the gallbladder will then release.”

Dr. Max Gerson

Coffee enemas appeared in the medical literature at least as early as 1917 and remained in the Merck Manual until 1972. German scientists discovered that coffee was able to open the bile ducts and increase the production of bile by the liver. Max Gerson, M.D. began using coffee enemas with his patients suffering from tuberculosis and then later, with his cancer patients.

Dr. Gerson found that the physical root causes of cancer in his patients were toxicity and nutritional deficiency. He used raw fresh juices and raw liver to address nutritional deficiencies as well as assist in cleansing the kidneys. As toxins were forced out of the tissues, it became necessary to support the liver in its ability to adequately eliminate toxins. Dr. Gerson understood that the liver becomes overburdened by the continuous release of toxins and that it was necessary to find proper support for detoxification. He found that detoxification could best be facilitated through the caffeine in coffee, absorbed from the descending colon via the hemorrhoidal vein, which carries the caffeine to the portal vein and the liver. The caffeine stimulates the liver and biliary ducts to open for release of waste products and toxins into the intestinal tract for excretion.

Dr. William Kelley

Later, Dr. William Kelley, learning from Dr. Gerson, implemented the use of coffee enemas first with himself during his two year battle with pancreatic cancer starting in 1969, and then with his cancer patients until his passing in 2006. Both doctors noted remarkable healing in those patients using coffee enemas.

The Purpose

Keep in mind that coffee enemas are given for the purpose of detoxification of the liver and blood, not for elimination of the bowels. The substances found in coffee, kahweol and cafestol palmitate, promote the activity of a key enzyme system, glutathione S-transferase, above the norm. This system detoxifies a vast array of electrophiles from the bloodstream and, according to Gar Hildenbrand of the Gerson Institute, “must be regarded as an important mechanism for carcinogen detoxification.” This enzyme group is responsible for neutralizing free radicals. It is believed that kahweol and cafestol palmitate increase the liver’s production of glutathione by as much as 700%.

“In addition, theophylline and theobromine (two other chemicals in coffee) dilate blood vessels and counter inflammation of the gut; the palmitates enhance the enzyme system responsible for the removal of toxic free radicals from the serum; and the fluid of the enema then stimulates the visceral nervous system to promote peristalsis and the transit of diluted toxic bile from the duodenum and out the rectum.” (Ralph Moss, The Royal Enema)

How it Works

The coffee enema works by dilating the bile ducts. As stated by the editors of Physiological Chemistry and Physics, “Caffeine enemas cause dilation of bile ducts, which facilitates excretion of toxic cancer breakdown products by the liver and dialysis of toxic products from blood across the colonic wall.” Coffee travels through the left hemorrhoidal vein to the portal vein, which delivers the coffee to the liver.

The coffee enema is typically held for two seperate 15 minute sessions. Since each molecule of blood in the body passes through the liver every three minutes, all the blood cells of the body experience detoxification during a coffee enema. (Healing Newsletter, #13, May-June, 1986).

Coffee enemas have been used for over one hundred years as a generalized detoxification procedure. When taken as directed, coffee enemas are perfectly safe. They stimulate the liver and gallbladder to release stored toxins and enhance liver function.


Supplies Needed:

How to prepare one quart (four cups) of coffee, which is used for one enema session:

  1. Place 3 tablespoons of organic coffee grounds (this amount may be reduced to 2 tablespoons if one is not dealing with cancer) in one quart (four cups) of purified or spring water. Only use organic and caffeinated coffee. Prepare the coffee in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pot. Do not use aluminum. It can leach into the coffee.
  2. Bring 2-3 tablespoons of organic coffee to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes; then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh strainer. Add additional purified or spring water to bring the coffee mixture to one quart (four cups).
  3. Optional: Make the coffee the night before each use. Reheat to body temperature before using.

The Process:

  1. Place a thick towel and a pillow for your head on the floor near the toilet. Waterproof pads are a good idea, as they will protect your floor in the event of a spill or leakage.
  2. Hang enema bag from a cabinet knob, which allows bag to hang about 18-21 inches from the floor. If using an enema bucket, place bucket on an elevated stool, chair or tub platform about 18-21 inches above the floor.
  3. Clamp tubing on your enema bag or bucket closed. Pour the quart of coffee into the enema bag or bucket.
  4. Lubricate the tip of the colon tube using olive oil or coconut oil.
  5. Lie on your left side or your back and insert the colon tube slowly 6-18 inches (never more than 18 inches) into the rectum. If the tube kinks pull out and try again, as kinking will block the flow of the coffee.
  6. Release the clamp, letting about a pint of coffee (two cups, which is half the amount in the bag or bucket) flow slowly in, and re-clamp. If the coffee does not flow there is most likely a kink in the tube. Withdraw the tube, reinsert, and try again.
  7. Turn to your right side. Hold the coffee for 12-15 minutes. At first, it may be difficult to retain the enema. That is okay. Gradually work up to the 12-15 minutes. Holding the enema longer than 15 minutes is counterproductive.
  8. After 15 minutes expel the liquid in the toilet.
  9. Wait about 5 minutes to ensure that you are finished eliminating. Then, repeat enema steps 6-11 with the remaining coffee.
  10. After each use, clean the enema bag or bucket and tubing with hot water and soap. Rinse with hydrogen peroxide and hang to dry.

Additional Tips:

  1. A coffee concentrate can be made and stored in the refrigerator for 7 days, for your convenience. Bring 1 cup of organic coffee grounds and 1 quart purified or spring water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain. Add additional purified or spring water to bring the coffee mixture to four cups. Use one cup of the concentrate to three cups purified or spring water for each enema session (each enema session consists of two consecutive enemas).
  2. Supplementing with additional minerals after the coffee enemas is not necessary but can be beneficial. If you desire additional minerals, we recommend Selectrolytes (1 tablespoon in purified water), Original Quinton Isotonic (1 vial) or Trace Minerals with B12.
  3. It is very rare, but some individuals may feel slightly jittery due to the caffeine in the coffee, although, most often, clients find the enemas relaxing. Absorption of the coffee is very low when doing a coffee enema. Jitteriness should lessen after the third session. If not, make the coffee weaker.
  4. Store open bag of coffee in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

Having Difficulty?

Having difficulty holding the coffee enemas for 12-15 minutes? This may be due to feces being compacted in the descending colon. You may try the following:

  • Start with one cup of warm purified or spring water. Take in water. Hold until you feel the urge to release. Release completely and then do your two coffee enemas.
  • Drinking two cups of warm water with fresh lemon juice upon rising, prior to enemas, will often initiate a bowel movement.
  • Take additional magnesium prior to bedtime such as three capsules of Magnesium Lactate or Magnesium Malate or 3 tablets of Mg-Zyme. This will increase the likelihood of having a nice bowel movement first thing in the morning.
  • Constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, liver congestion and/or gut dysbiosis. Address with a qualified health care practitioner.


  • A Cancer Therapy, Results of Fifty Cases, By Max Gerson, M.D., pages 190, 191, 194, 247, 409, and 418
  • Article in Gerson Healing Newsletter by Gerson Institute, NL #13 May-June 1986: A Coffee Enema? Now I’ve Heard Everything
  • A report in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients- July 2001 by Morton Walker, DPM. Liver Detoxifications with Coffee Enemas as Employed in the Gerson Therapy.


This information is not medical advice or takes the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician. Consult your own doctors or other qualified health professional regarding the treatment of your medical problems. Those taking prescription medications should consult with their physicians and not take themselves off of medicines to start supplementation without the proper supervision of a physician familiar with nutritional supplementation.

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