A conversation about enemas can stimulate everything from laughter to horror. There are many old wives tales about enemas and how they can “cure” everything from the common cold to cancer. So let’s took a look at the facts and science behind the use of enemas.
Ancient civilizations included enemas in their cleansing rituals. The pharaohs of Egypt had their ‘guardians of the anus”, a doctor who specialized in administering the enemas and keeping their bowels clean. In the 1700’s, enemas were a common practice in France and were considered indispensable for vibrant health.
At the turn of the 20th century, scientists in Germany noticed that caffeine opened the bile ducts and stimulated the production of bile in the liver of laboratory animals. Coffee enemas were even included in the Merck Manual, which is the medical doctor’s “bible”, until 1972.
Coffee enemas have gained modern popularity because of natural cancer protocols such as the Gerson Therapy, which incorporates daily enemas as part of their healing regime.
What exactly is an enema? An enema involves the insertion of a small tube into the rectum and then introducing fluids like coffee or herbal teas into the large intestine. This is best accomplished while lying on the left side with knees slightly bent. The amount of fluid can vary from 1 quart to 4 quarts, depending on what the need may be. Retaining the enema for 15-20 minutes provides the best results.
The benefits of the coffee enema are primarily due to the detoxification of the liver and not necessarily the emptying of the lower bowel. With the barrage of chemicals we are exposed to every day as well as the internal toxins that are produced from daily metabolism, the liver can become overloaded and burdened with an excessive amount of toxicity.
As the coffee sits in the bowel, the fluid is absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood stream, specifically through the portal vein of the liver. This carries the stimulating effects of the caffeine and other phytochemicals into the back door of the liver, so to speak, and stimulates the liver and gall bladder. Since fresh blood flows through the liver every 3 minutes, the detoxification of the liver is quite significant during those 15-20 minutes.
Aside from the detoxification of the liver, the coffee enemas provide certain phytochemicals, specifically kahweol and cafestol. These nutrients activate glutathione, which is a primary antioxidant in the cell. Detoxification on a cellular level is key to healing and creating vibrant health.
In laboratory studies, Kahweol has shown anti-inflammatory properties and also stopped the formation of new vascularity or blood flow in the early formation of tumors. Both kahweol and cafestol have displayed anti-cancer properties in laboratory studies.
Enemas can also be performed with various teas, such as green tea or red clover tea, although coffee is said to produce better results.
If you are on a specific healing journey or you simply want to detox, make coffee enemas a regular part of your wellness protocol.
National Toxicology Program Cafestol (CASRN 469-83-0) and Kahweol (CASRN 6894-43-5) – Review of Toxicological Literature. (PDF)