Health Quackery

Published on May 17th, 2014 | by Rayne


Coffee Enemas: If you don’t know by now where coffee goes, I feel bad for you.

I’ve felt a little under the weather as of late, it’s slowly turning into what is considered winter here in my state which means my body is preparing to feel like shit and complain continuously about the cold for 3 months. I happened to mention this on my Twitter a while back only to receive the following message with a link to an article entitled: 10 Reasons Why You Should Try A Coffee Enema

“I’ve heard you’ve been feeling sick lately, I’ve found this has really helped me to get back to where I should be!”

Oh, sweet Jebus on a stick.

Look I like to think of myself as a sex positive person – I’m pro things in bums for recreational reasons, I’m pro things in bums for medical reasons but I’m only pro things in bums when it’s been proven to 1. actually work for medical purposes or 2. feels fantastic. Plenty of people get a sexual kick out of things up their bum – including enemas. Generally pharmaceutical enemas that have been trialed and tested to not bring about any damage to the human bottocks.

For those of my readers who don’t know, a coffee enema is exactly what it sounds like. Coffee enemas are based on a pre-scientific idea called “autointoxication”, the belief we are being poisoned by toxins due to those toxins sitting in the large intestine and getting reabsorbed back into the body because every time we poop, we don’t poop enough to keep our colon completely squeaky clean. Basically the poop that doesn’t get pooped out when we go to the loo is poisoning us.

As I stated before coffee enemas work exactly how they sound – you boil up coffee and insert it into your bottom (without the coffee grains and at room temperature). Coffee enemas themselves aren’t safe and when individuals without medical training dispense them – they are even more unsafe. Rare but serious adverse events like septicemia (bacteria in the bloodstream), rectal perforation, and electrolyte abnormalities have been caused by coffee enemas. Deaths from the administration of coffee enemas have been reported (source).

I didn’t think I would have to say this out-loud but there is no scientific evidence for anything contained within the article I was sent.

The author of the article states that she suffered with “systemic candida”, candida are a genus of fungus – some species can be found in gut flora, some species can cause thrush or superficial oral infections. Some species can cause infections internally for immunocompromised people but this is rare. The idea we are invaded with candida or parasites is widespread in the alternative medicine world, alternative medicine proponents like to assert that candida can cause fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue (diseases science are only now learning more about – as a side note, I wonder what will happen to alternative medicine when science knows all there is to know about diseases? Alternative medicine doesn’t seem to make shit up about diseases we have cures for, only the ones we don’t), yeast infections, brain fog, headaches, anxiety and depression, digestive problems and bloating, acne, skin rashes and sinus infections – there is no evidence of this and naturopaths don’t typically diagnose people using any medial tests anyway.

Coffee enemas have been promoted to treat issues such as insomnia (seeing as the caffeine is absorbed by the colon when taken as an enema – it’s not going to help you sleep), cancer, the candida cited above among other medical issues.

Here are some of the reasons the article lists as reasons for why I should shove coffee up my arse instead of down my throat:

Reduces levels of toxicity by up to 600%.
If you reduce the level of toxins in your body by 100% – it means you have no more toxins in your body. If I eat 100% of the dumplings I have on the plate next too me – I will have all the dumplings digesting in my stomach. If I have 12 dumplings on my plate and I eat 600% of them – I would have somehow eaten 72 dumplings.

Cleans and heals the colon, improving peristalis.
There is no scientific evidence of this. Peristalis are muscle contractions that move food through your digestive tract and urine through your bladder. It happens naturally throughout the body and doesn’t need help.

Increases energy levels, improves mental clarity and mood.
Caffeine is a drug that acts as a stimulant that affects the brain and nervous system – absorbing caffeine into your body will affect it regardless of where it is being absorbed from.

Some of the signs and symptoms of excessive amounts of caffeine include:a rise in body temperature

frequent urination and dehydration
dizziness and headaches
after the energy burst, an even greater feeling of fatigue
rapid heart beat (palpitations)
restlessness and excitability
anxiety and irritability
trembling hands

Helps eliminate parasites and candida.
There is no scientific evidence of this.

Can help heal chronic health conditions (along with following a mainly raw plant-based diet).
There is no scientific evidence of this.

Used regularly in the Gerson Institute treatment protocol for healing cancer patients naturally.
There is no scientific evidence of this.

I haven’t been able to find any scientific evidence for any of the above claims – no scientific studies only baseless assertions. In fact the only thing I could find was a “paper” entitled “Scientific Basis of Coffee Enemas” and it doesn’t actually offer any scientific studies around coffee enemas – only assertions. In fact the only reference I could find to the following assertion was on naturopathy sites and forums:

Doctors at the University of Minnesota showed that coffee administered rectally also stimulates an enzyme system in the liver called glutathione S – transferase by 600%-700% above normal activity levels. This enzyme reacts with free radicals (which cause cell damage) in the bloodstream and makes them inert. These neutralized substances become dissolved in the bile, are released through the bile flow from the liver and gallbladder, and are excreted through the intestinal tract.”

Now there is quite a bit of science in that statement and the science is somewhat right in terms of what glutathione S – transferase does – however the first sentence is a complete bollocks. I haven’t been able to find a single piece of evidence of the study or anything that proves the assertion regarding the bolded text to be fact – apart from the “paper” taken from The only other thing I found that references any information about the subject is the above listed quote with a link to the “paper” also listed above. Both the quote and the paper have been plastered around the Internet on alternative medicine sites and forums. The “paper” was written by the same person who invented the Gerson treatment (which is built around juicing, coffee enemas and supplements) as opposed to an impartial author or team of scientists looking to find the effects of coffee enemas on the body.

The only reference of the paper is from the creator of the treatment themselves. The only information I can find about the treatment is from the creator of the treatment which has been shared around the Internet. No independent studies. No peer review. Taking the word about the benefits of coffee enemas from the same person who wants to sell them to you, is only going to lead to an empty wallet, a wet arse and a weird after-taste in your lower region. If anyone can give me any scientific studies about how shoving coffee up your butt has any physiological benefits – I’d appreciate it.

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3 Responses to Coffee Enemas: If you don’t know by now where coffee goes, I feel bad for you.

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