Talking about enemas, or anything that has to do with the bowels in general, might be awkward. It’s just not a comfortable subject.
But when it comes to our health, having a wide variety of tools and knowledge is a huge plus. Even thinking and doing things outside the normal scope can mean the difference between average results and great results.
Coffee enemas are having a recent surge in popularity. Doing this type of enema may help you get more out of the other healthy habits you are already implementing. Fans of coffee enemas use it to help the body’s natural detoxification processes. Consistent users comment on better bowel function, increased energy, and weight loss.
But are enemas really a new thing? Not at all.
The first reference of the use of enemas for health was by the Egyptians in 1550 BC. A Greek physician from the first century thought ailments could be addressed with the right food, drink, and enemas. Enemas have been part of medicine for thousands of years to help support the colon and rectum. (1)
But when did the coffee enema come into play?
During WWI, patients were often prepped for surgery with an enema. The rationale was to reduce the chance for infection. When water was in short supply, a nurse used coffee for a wounded soldier's surgery prep enema. The soldier commented that his pain was reduced and he felt better. So the coffee enema rather than the water enema became standard practice. (2)
Later, functional medicine adopted this procedure as a way to increase the health of chronically ill patients. Now the coffee enema protocol is being used by healthy individuals as well to optimize their vitality even more.
What Is a Coffee Enema? Why Use Coffee?
The reason you may want to do a coffee enema is to help move the liver bile ducts to purge the bile and as another aid to open up the drainage pathways and clear the colon during detox. As another benefit, they may also help activate the vagus nerve, while increasing glutathione (a vital detoxification antioxidant) and decreasing pain. (3, 4, 5)
Coffee itself contains some cool health properties that can be helpful to the body. Two of the main constituents can increase the level of glutathione in the intestines and the liver:
- Cafestol palmitate
- Kahweol palmitate
It’s important to note that coffee is the only known source of these two constituents. (6)
As an antioxidant, glutathione helps to prevent damage from heavy metals and reactive oxygen species. It breaks apart chemical carcinogens so our body can remove them. (7)
Kahweol palmitate seems to increase glutathione more than cafestol palmitate. But both raised it. The less roasted the coffee beans, the higher the amount of these two powerful ingredients. (8)
Because coffee is also a significant source of antioxidants, the lighter the roast, the more the antioxidants. It can lower inflammation in the liver and help the liver cells to regenerate. (9, 10)
The caffeine in coffee may help to prevent chronic diseases like type II diabetes and liver problems. Coffee can inhibit fibrosis of liver tissue and help to dilate blood vessels. This increases its benefits dramatically. (11, 12)
To learn more about how coffee enemas can help you on your health journey, here are three main benefits.
1. Coffee Enemas Benefits for the Liver
The liver is the lifeline of the detoxification system, filtering out toxins to keep you healthy. Unfortunately, sometimes these toxins can build up and create a sludge that blocks the bile duct.
If the bile cannot flow freely to the intestines, these toxins build up in the liver. This causes inflammation, leading to more health issues. It also can impair digestion and the ability to absorb nutrients fully.
A coffee enema detox can help unblock the bile duct, so this backup in purification does not occur. Doing these regularly can also help get these coffee constituents to go straight to the liver so it can upregulate glutathione.
About six inches inside the rectum are the hemorrhoidal veins. These veins directly connect to the hepatic portal, which leads straight to the liver. That’s why for coffee enemas, the tube should be inserted six inches in the rectum for the coffee to be absorbed through the hemorrhoidal veins to the hepatic portal vein to go directly to the liver. (13)
The caffeine in the coffee dilates these blood vessels. This increases the absorption of the coffee and its valuable constituents. The nutrient uptake happens much faster than drinking the coffee. Acids from the stomach haven't changed the components, so the coffee is processed by the liver differently. (14)
Proper bile flow is vital to the detoxification system. Our livers do a fantastic job of filtering our blood. At any given moment, the liver contains around 10% of our blood, cleaning it to protect us and filtering about 1.4 liters in a minute! (15)
This process with the liver stimulates the release of bile from the liver, depositing all the waste products that need to get out of the body into the bile. Then this waste material gets removed in our stools, assisting in the drainage portion of detox.
2. Coffee Enemas Benefits for the Intestines
The main coffee constituents can also have potent detoxification effects in the intestines as well. Different chemicals and enzymes control all our genes within the body. The rate of detoxification in the intestines is no exception. (16)
These cafestol and kahweol palmitates can double the amount these genes are expressed, and 70% of both of these palmitates can be absorbed in the small intestine. This suggests that coffee enema protocols can double your detoxification rate in the intestines. (16, 17)
Glutathione has also been shown to increase after this type of colon cleanse. It’s important to note that glutathione is more than a powerful antioxidant in the body. While it's performing its amazing detoxification action, it also helps to inhibit neoplasia, or the growth of new, abnormal and uncontrolled tissue. Blocking our tissues from this abnormal growth could be vital in preventing disease. It can also help to create optimal function of our intestines. (18)
Another health promoting part in coffee, theophylline, reduces inflammation in both the liver and the intestines. It might be especially useful in ulcerative colitis. (19)
3. Coffee Enemas May Help with Depression and Anxiety
True health is a delicate balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Both have important roles. But in anxiety and depression, the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response) is working too hard. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest response) is too low. (20)
These responses heighten anxiety and depression as well as our response to pain. Coffee enema benefits include helping to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps with depression. (21)
Part of calming our nervous system is having the feeling of satiety. Coffee enemas stimulate the gallbladder to contract. This is how it helps to open the bile duct. The coffee can improve gallbladder contraction by around 33% or more. This really helps to move out the toxins the liver wants to expel. (22)
The coffee enema increases plasma cholecystokinin, which helps to produce a “satisfied” or relaxed feeling. This activation of the gallbladder might help you avoid gallstones as well. (23)
Your body likes to recycle bile and can reuse this bile up to 18 times. It takes a lot of energy to make, and your body wants to be efficient. Unfortunately, sometimes the toxins that your liver tries hard to remove can get reabsorbed. Getting your liver and gallbladder to release bile isn’t enough. A coffee enema detox gets these toxins out of your body, so they are not reabsorbed.
How To Complete a Coffee Enema
Your first coffee enema might seem like a daunting task. But once you’ve done this process a few times, it will be much easier. You can also consult with your healthcare practitioner to see if coffee enemas are right for you.
To perform a coffee enema, the first thing you will have to do is gather the equipment and supplies. This includes:
The coffee. The best coffee for enemas is organic, light roasted, or air roasted whole coffee beans (not decaffeinated coffee!)
Coconut oil or some other lubricant. This for the end of the enema hose.
Coffee enema kit or bucket. The bucket is easy to clean.
French press. This is to retain the important cafestol and kahweol palmitates.
Organic blackstrap molasses. Optional (to help retain the enema).
- Paper towels
Soft towels. For the bathroom floor.
Water. Use distilled water to remove chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals.
The best time of day for this is in the morning after you have already had a bowel movement. Coffee is known to stimulate the brain, so doing this too late in the day could hinder your sleep patterns.
For your first one, choose a day that you are not rushed and can take your time with this process.
Coffee Enema Instructions
- Bring 4 cups of pure water to a boil.
- Measure 4 tablespoons of organic coffee grounds into a French press.
- Pour the boiling water in and let sit for 20 minutes. If desired, add 1 tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses during steeping.
- Press down on the French press. (Using a paper coffee filter may remove some of the very important kahweol and cafestol palmitate that makes the coffee enema so beneficial!)
- Let the coffee cool! You want it at body or room temperature.
- Add any additional ingredients to enhance the enema solution. Then pour the solution into your enema bucket or kit. Make sure the bucket isn’t too high. The solution will flow too fast. 18 inches is ideal.
- Place towels on the floor and lie down on your right side with your knees bent.
- Apply the coconut oil to the end of the enema hose. Gently insert the hose about 6 inches into the rectum.
- Unclamp the hose and slowly let about half of the enema solution flow in, about 2 cups. Stop a bit sooner if you feel “full.”
- Try to hold the solution in for about 15 minutes. Gently release it into the toilet.
- Repeat with the remaining two cups of the solution if you’d like.
Tips For Common Issues
I can’t hold it for 15 minutes, what do I do?
First of all, don’t stress about it. Fifteen minutes is ideal, but you will still get benefits with shorter times. Every time you do this will feel different, and the sensations of it might take some getting used to.
Second, make sure you have emptied your bowels as much as possible before you start. This includes both an actual bowel movement but also any trapped “air.” Get as empty as you can before you begin.
Also, taking some slow breaths can help to ease that “urge” and help you to hold it for a bit longer. Wiggling toes or something else to take your mind off things helps too. Remember to relax and hydrate and it will get easier with repetition and practice.
I feel worse after! What did I do wrong?
You didn’t do anything wrong. Feeling worse after a coffee enema detox reveals there may be something in your liver bile duct system that is stagnant and backed up. A lot of times, it’s important to slow down with this process, especially if there are parasites and other issues with toxins.
You can do a few different things to help get around these side effects. First, you can hold the enema for a shorter time. Work your way up to fifteen minutes as the liver bile duct starts to clear out with each enema. Second, you can make the coffee with fewer grounds so it isn’t as strong. Start with a tablespoon and work your way to the full four tablespoons.
The vast majority of people feel better and energized after, but a small group of people don’t. This means that the bile duct was indeed clogged up. Releasing those toxins can make you feel worse for a short time.
It may also mean you have a parasitic infection in the liver bile duct, and you’ve stirred those critters up. Infrared heating pads can help soothe afterwards by putting it on the liver area (front right lower rib cage).
After The Enema: Cleaning the Equipment
It’s crucial to clean the equipment that you used for the enema. Bacteria or mold could begin to grow on the equipment if not properly cleaned.
Thoroughly wash the bucket with hot water and gentle soap. Make sure it has completely dried before storing. Wash the hose as well, but do one additional step. Disinfect the end of the hose that was used in the rectum with hydrogen peroxide. Again, make sure it is thoroughly dry before you store it.
Do Coffee Enemas Deplete Minerals?
Remember, coffee enema's health benefits primarily aid in the purging of toxins. Getting these toxins out helps take the burden off your liver. It’s important to keep in mind that other substances get purged as well, including minerals because it can be removed along with the toxins with traditional enemas.
Coffee contains selenium and zinc, but make sure to replace the minerals in your body by staying hydrated. Doing three or four coffee enemas a week shouldn’t be a problem. Because they are typically energizing, some people choose to do them multiple times a day. This is too often and can cause electrolyte imbalance. Your body will only release so many toxins at once.
Remember that this is a journey. Give your body time to benefit from your coffee enema protocol.
What To Expect After a Coffee Enema
Enemas aren’t always an easy subject. While there are different types of enemas, coffee enemas just might be effective as a complementary, alternative approach. They may help boost your:
- Digestive health
- Liver function
While not medical advice, using a coffee enema as part of your detox protocol might keep illness from “brewing” in your liver and lower digestive tract.