Ask the (Science-Based) Pharmacist: What are the benefits of coffee enemas?

How do you like your coffee? Rectally.

How do you like your coffee? Rectally.

It might not occur to you, sipping your morning coffee, that you could derive tremendous health benefits by simply shooting that coffee directly into your rectum. Yet many people believe this. Suzy Cohen, who calls herself, “America’s Pharmacist™” and also “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist®” is a proponent. Her syndicated column Ask the Pharmacist recently contained this question and response:

Question: I see a naturopathic doctor for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. She recommended coffee enemas. Suzy, I’m a faithful reader, do you think this is safe? V.A., Seattle, Washington

Answer: Yes. Coffee enemas are used by holistic physicians for all sorts of conditions including cancer. Lots of people find help with constipation, fatigue and liver detoxification concerns. I know this sounds bizarre because you prefer to taste your coffee, not insert it rectally! Agreed. You may be hearing about coffee enemas today, but they are nothing new and complications from coffee enemas are highly unusual. Hey, I just thought of a new franchise concept called Starbutts … entrance in the rear.

Seriously, coffee enemas may help relieve constipation, insomnia and cognitive problems; they may eliminate (or control) parasites, candida and other pathogens (without disrupting intestinal flora). Coffee enemas are frequently used in natural cancer protocols such as the Gerson Therapy ( Coffee enemas were outlined as a treatment in the revered “Merck Manual,” a thick book that physicians used as their primary reference for decades, until the mid 1970s.

It’s not the enema as much as it is the coffee that helps. You are exposed to a barrage of toxic compounds in your life, you can easily become overloaded. Some of you cannot detoxify properly. Coffee enemas help you make glutathione, an antioxidant and that sends poisons packing. More on that momentarily.

Coffee enemas can be done at home inexpensively. You just need a comfortable spot on the floor of your bathroom, or bathtub. As the coffee is retained in your bowel, the fluid goes through your intestinal wall, through the portal vein to your liver. The stimulating effects and healing compounds of coffee jumpstart your liver and gallbladder. Bile flows. There are compounds in coffee like kahweol and cafestol which spark production of glutathione, and that is a strong cleansing compound in your body, one that consumers pay good money for when they buy glutathione as a dietary supplement, or get IV injections of it. To make more glutathione naturally (by using a coffee enema) is awesome.

These enemas may allow for relaxation, a better mood, more energy, refreshing sleep and greater mental clarity. If you do too many enemas per week, you may experience electrolyte imbalances. Restoring your electrolytes is crucial, as coffee is a potent drug mugger of minerals. While the controversial cancer specialist Dr. Max Gerson suggested up to six per day, I think that is way too much for the average person. Doing a coffee enema weekly (even daily for awhile) is probably okay for most, but always follow your doctor’s recommendation. The recipe for a coffee enema is different than the beverage.

I was pretty stunned to see this response, particularly from a health professional. Here’s how I’d answer the same question:

The Science-Based Response

Question: I see a naturopathic doctor for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. She recommended coffee enemas. Scott, I’m a faithful reader of Science-Based Medicine, do you think this is safe?

Answer: No. Coffee enemas are considered unsafe and should be avoided. 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.

Coffee enemas are based on a pre-scientific idea called “autointoxication”, the belief we are being poisoned by toxins because we are not digesting and eliminating waste products from our colons. This concept is not new, and has roots as far back as our records of medicine. Autointoxication as a concept was discarded over time, as the scientific basis for disease was discovered. It’s perhaps not surprising that your naturopath recommends coffee enemas, as naturopathy is an alternative medicine practice that is based on prescientific and unscientific concepts of health and disease, such as autointoxication. “Humoral medicine” emerged from ancient Egyptian and Roman ideas that the body was composed of four liquids: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. “Balance’ in the humors was the goal, and an accumulation of waste in the colon was though to lead to humoral imbalances. The remedy was flushing colon through enemas and purgatives. This philosophy, now discarded from science-based medicine, is still embedded in naturopathy practice.

There is no credible evidence to suggest that coffee enemas can help with insomnia and cognitive problems. In fact, caffeine is absorbed by the colon when coffee is administered as an enema, so it is a poor option for insomnia. The idea that you are are contaminated with parasites or candida are just that – ideas.  While alternative practitioners believe these conditions are widespread in the population, there is no scientific evidence to suggest this. There is no reason to treat conditions which do not exist.

Coffee enemas have their roots as part of the “Gerson Treatment” for cancer, developed by physician Max Gerson in the 1940’s. His regimen included coffee enemas, supplements, juice, and injections of calves’ liver. The approach has been investigated and been shown to be useless for the treatment of cancer.

Some proponents of coffee enemas believe that the chemical components of coffee stimulate liver and gall bladder function. There is no credible evidence to suggest this occurs, or that it is necessary. Your liver and gallblader don’t need an enema in order to work effectively. There is no evidence to suggest that you need to boost your liver’s production of glutathione with enemas. You may in fact be boosting your glutathione already, if you’re a coffee drinker.

I’m very sorry to hear about your chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Science-based medicine lacks a good understanding of this illness, and there is a lack of effective treatments. Unfortunately, that can make patients with these illnesses targets to those that profess certainty and offer dubious and unproven treatments, like coffee enemas. A decision to undergo any treatment needs to consider the risk and benefits. And treatments need to be investigated to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. With coffee enemas, the evidence is clear. Given the lack of benefit and potential harms, there is no plausible justification to undergo these treatments. You should ignore any medical advice from anyone that recommends coffee enemas to you.


Autointoxication is a belief that has persisted for hundreds of years, and survives today as the rationale for an array of alternative medicine practices, including coffee enemas, ear candles, “detox” diets, and “cleansing” kits. (For some, the idea that we are being poisoned internally can become downright pathological. A Florida couple admitted to administering coffee enemas four to ten times per day.) These ideas seem almost a part of human nature: Purification rituals are common features of different cultures worldwide. In modern society, and with today’s alternative medicine providers, detoxification is wrapped with a scientific banner, in an attempt to give the treatments (and their purveyors) a veneer of credibility. Autointoxication beliefs are not only wrong, but they are demonstrably dangerous. Practices like coffee enemas have no plausible benefit and a real risk of harm. More broadly, and perhaps most importantly, the continued promotion of these practices distracts from science-based advice that can support better health decision-making.

Photo from flickr user serraboten used under a CC licence.

Posted in: Cancer, History, Naturopathy

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182 thoughts on “Ask the (Science-Based) Pharmacist: What are the benefits of coffee enemas?

  1. Sean Duggan says:

    While I shudder at the idea of a coffee enema (I hope to high heavens that they at least let it cool down from the carafe…), I have heard that, all jokes aside, coffee works in an IV line setup, and that subjects have reported fewer side effects such as jitteriness or difficulty concentrating.

    1. Chris says:

      IV coffee? Where was that when I was in college!?

      Back then we carried our computer programs in boxes, and there were times I left the Academic Computer Center to my dorm at 5am to turn in the results to an 8:30am class. There were many of those nights in my junior year because the aero professor suggested we do Navier-Stokes equations a slightly different way. It turned out that it really didn’t work. There was two weeks when our building was full of junior zombies.

      The highlight of that experience was that a fellow junior aero zombie and I poked our heads into the building’s auditorium where an “Abnormal Psych” class was viewing a documentary on porn stars in their full working un-dress (just in case you don’t get that: they was nekkid!). We looked at each other with our zombie eyes, gasped a zombie sigh and said we are majoring in the wrong thing, though at least we were more employable in a bit over a year.

      Note: the aero professor laughed when I related this story a few years ago at an event for alumni. And I really really really hate computational aerodynamics. Though I did end up getting employed doing lots and lots, and really lots of computational structural dynamics, and not using any kind of *&^%$#! keypunch machine.

    2. Brian says:

      I’ve seen them work firsthand. My sister was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer when she was 25 years old. She was being treated at the famous Mayo clinic in Rochester. She had surgery multiple times to remove tumors. The cancer spread to her lymph nodes. At that point chemo or radiation were her only options. She was stage 4. She decided to treat herself using nutrition but monitored her progress at Mayo. Long story short she treated herself by juicing and daily enemas, some of which were coffee enemas. Her cancer disappeared less than a year later; she is 49 and has since never had it return.

      1. Chris says:

        That is fascinating. Can you post the PubMed indexed case report of her cure, please? If she was being followed at the Mayo Clinic, which has a teaching hospital, surely this would have been written up.

        Thank you.

        1. Brian says:

          They never asked what she was doing or taking. They made no comment at all.

          1. Harriet Hall says:

            Really? The Mayo Clinic doctors made no comment at all? Did she get the chemo or radiation as they recommended?

          2. Brian says:

            She received no chemo and no radiation. They did say, “whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it.” But they had no interest in what “it” was.

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              Perhaps the Mayo doctors assumed that she was simply one of the small but substantial percentage of patients with stage 4 melanoma with long-term survival and that whatever she was using for self-treatment had nothing to do with it. We simply can’t draw any conclusions from your anecdote, for several reasons. We don’t have any records of your sister’s biopsy reports or medical history: we only have your report of her report of what the doctors said, and memories are notoriously fallible and observations are frequently misinterpreted. The only way to tell if her self-treatment regimen works would be to compare a group of patients with her diagnosis who used her regimen to those who didn’t. Spontaneous regression does occur. Also, she used more than one intervention, so this can’t be considered a success of coffee enemas. The bottom line: you have given us a single anecdote where a patient did something, then she got better. A single case doesn’t establish a correlation. Correlation doesn’t establish causation. The post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy is the bane of medical reasoning. I’m glad she recovered, but I don’t think anyone can presume to know WHY she recovered.

          3. Chris says:

            So you have no actual evidence for her remarkable recovery. That is extraordinary.

      2. David Gorski says:

        Tumor in lymph nodes alone does not necessarily mean stage IV. If the lymph nodes involved belonged only to the local draining nodal basin, in fact, it would definitely not mean stage IV.

  2. Kevin says:

    My favorite part was “follow your doctors recommendation”. Any recommendation other than zero coffee enemas would cause me to find another doctor. My mother was a big believer in this crap, maybe that’s why I read this blog. Keep up the good fight.

  3. windriven says:

    I must say that coffee enemas intrigue me. Not the enemas themselves, the idea that there are people who believe that squirting a pot of coffee up your butt is a good idea. One wonders if this stems from sexual frustration, coprophobia, or simply bat-crap craziness? And why coffee? Why not, say, tea or guava juice or gerbils. Wait. No. Forget the gerbils.

    This sort of thing scares the bejesus out of me because the colon, like the lungs, features large surface area and enough vascularization to afford an exceptional gateway for introducing compounds to the body nearly unimpeded.

    1. Sean Duggan says:

      Not a doctor, of course, but I suspect it’s a combination of a) coffee is a part of everyday life with beneficial effects, so it’s seen as a “safe, natural remedy” by virtue of that, never mind that we usually use it in a different sense and b) we already use coffee in other non-medical senses. Face masks, for example (assuming there’s any actual benefit, I’m assuming it’s due to an astringent effect helping pull skin taut to eliminate wrinkles combined with a mild bit of tannins staining the skin, providing the appearance of less paleness) or using coffee grounds for gardening (something to do with adjust soil acidity / alkalinity).

      Add to that that the colon absorbing the caffeine probably gives people a bit of a buzz, and you’ve got additional positive reinforcement for use of that material.

      1. windriven says:

        Isn’t the absorption rate much faster than oral route? I vaguely recall something about alcohol toxicity related to the, ahem, rectal route.

      2. Earthman says:

        Using coffee grounds ion the garden is fine. Not so much for acidity regulation, but you do get a bit of nitrogen released when it rots down. I visited an organic farm a while ago where they were making compost from coffee grounds from an instant coffee factory, and the waste bedding from race horse stables (shredded newspaper plus droppings). All mixed together it did make very good compost in about 6 weeks, and brought valuable nitrogen into the farm.

      3. Earthman says:

        What is the incidence of colon cancer in people who have regular coffee enemas, versus the rest? Anyone know?

        1. windriven says:

          I don’t know that the link between colon cancer and coffee enemas has been investigated. A quick review of pubmed shows only two articles – both from that moron Gerson claiming coffee enemas as the one true sacrament (blessed are those who take it with neither cream nor sugar).

        2. Young CC Prof says:

          I would imagine the population, especially the population of those who do it regularly, is too small to provide statistical significance. I also imagine they’d be somewhat difficult to locate and pin down for such a study.

        3. Rebecca says:

          You skeptics are fools. Try it before you knock it. Do your own research before you criticize.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            That’s a hilarious statement. The fact is, a skeptic is far more likely to do research than the credulous individual who injects coffee directly into their anus on the basis of the testimony of the person selling it to you. The reason we criticize is because we do the research, or try to, and find there is nothing to substantiate the claims beyond some extremely dubious testimonials.

            I mean really, who is more foolish in their response to this scenario:

            “Injecting coffee into your anus will cure cancer, that will be $200 please.”

            a) Skeptic – “I would like to look into the scientific literature to try to understand how it might work and if it works, before I give you $200 of my hard-earned money, thank you.”
            b) CAM proponent – “Here is $200, please insert a plastic tube into my anus.”

          2. Diane says:

            I agree with you Rebecca. Modern medicine pushes pills on unsuspecting patients with many side effects and yes, DEATHS. I’d go with a more natural approach. The others can take their chances with “modern medicine”.

          3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Is smallpox natural? Is vaccination?

            Is cancer natural? Is surviving cancer due to chemotherapy and radiation natural? And before you say “cancer is due to modern toxins”, they have mummies from Ancient Egypt with cancer. Cancer is in large part a disease of aging and there are plenty of natural carcinogens. Sunlight? Natural and carcinogenic.

            Is starving to death natural? Is a banana natural?

            Is freezing to death natural?

            Is bleeding to death due to eating a pound of willow bark natural?

            Are stomach ulcers due to willow bark natural?

            What about dying of cyanide poisoning after eating the ancestor of a peach? Or foxglove poisoning?

            What about dying of phenylketonuria because there is no natural treatment for it?

            Is an infant dying of dehydration natural?

            Is malaria natural?

            Is polio natural?

            Is drowning natural?

            Is a goiter natural?

            Is scurvy natural?

            Is your house natural?

            Are coffee enemas natural?

            Does modern medicine urge the morbidly obese to lose weight, or to eat more ice cream?

            Have you ever filled a prescription that didn’t have an extensive list of adverse effects, including death, on it?

            You are propping up a caricature of modern medicine to knock down by pretending things like “exercise regularly, eat unprocessed foods and get enough sleep” aren’t the recommendations made by nearly every doctor on the planet. You are ignorant about the purity and adverse effects of herbs and things “natural”. Plants evolved their chemicals to resist being eaten, not to meet our health needs.

          4. Chris says:

            Diane: ” I’d go with a more natural approach.”

            How is shoving coffee up your bum “natural”? First, it is coffee, which requires lots of processing to become that beverage (drying, fermenting, roasting, etc). Then it is going up the wrong way. The colon is a waste disposal system, stuff goes out. You don’t shove stuff in it!

    2. sika says:

      I agreed. Good post…

    3. sika says:

      I definitely agree with you windriven

  4. Young CC Prof says:

    You know, before IV feeding, doctors nourished patients who were unable to eat with enemas of cooled broth. These could keep people alive for weeks, as the colon absorbed nutrients as well as fluids. President McKinley, for example. (Unfortunately for him, they couldn’t figure out how to find and remove the bullet without killing him.)

    So yeah, you are DEFINITELY getting all the caffeine from that enema. Other than the massive inconvenience and potential risk of damaging your colon, I’m really not seeing the difference between doing coffee enemas and just drinking the stuff.

    1. windriven says:

      My only thought here is that many components of the digestive system mediate the entry of substances into the bloodstream. Going in through the back door bypasses all of these mechanisms with perhaps unknown consequences.

      I do recall research into this by Eric Cartman that was later repeated by Randy Marsh. But considering that Marsh is a geologist and Cartman has uncertain credentials, that research really has to be considered suspect.

      1. elburto says:

        Not to mention that none of their research was blinded, though I’m not sure how one could ensure adequate blinding for such research.

    2. Heath Bonner says:

      Providing life-sustaining nutrition is a very different proposition, with much different requirements and expected outcomes, than curing a process that hijacks the very systems that keep a person alive. Rectal diazepam is given to deal with acute seizure issues because of the speed of absorption. However, research is also being done on a nasally administered form of a related compound, because it’s so much simpler and safer to put something into someone’s nose than to administer through the other end. That reasoning there is probably why broth enemas are not done as much, since you can give the same thing through an NG tube, for example.

  5. RxDoc says:

    Look up “quack” in the dictionary and there should be pictures of Cohen and Gerson

    1. Diane says:

      That’s nasty.

  6. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    …is that a South Park joke?

    Doesn’t the butt route bypass the liver’s first pass effect? Isn’t it akin to getting a much stronger dose of coffee than the equivalent taken orally? Picking imaginary figures, you drink a cup of coffee, it has 10 mg caffeine, your liver degrades 8 mg of that, you get 2 mg in the blood. You go in through the but, would you get all 10 mg in the blood? Or is that only IV?

    1. DrSkeptismo says:

      It won’t bypass the liver. Whatever is absorbed will make its way to the liver via the portal vein and its branches. It’s a handy way our bodies attempt to protect us from things we may eat or the things we may stick up our bums.

  7. Jimmy says:

    I wish I hadn’t read this because now I’m going to have this stuck in my head all day:

    ♫ The best part of waking up…is Foldgers in yoooour buuuuuutt! ♪

      1. windriven says:

        Dude. Disgusting. ;-)

        1. windriven says:

          A (w)hole new take on the concept of rimming.

    1. Ben says:

      At least its stuck in your head and not your head stuck in ‘it’. (sorry I know its a bit weak but hadda get that one outta my head).

  8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Your meme has successfully reproduced.

    I would say “thanks”, but I’m more annoyed than thankful :P

  9. Carl says:

    My barista once tried to give me a coffee enema. I said no and then he tried to pretend like it was an accident.

  10. qetzal says:

    When I was in grad school in San Diego, I used to enjoy reading the SCAM ads in the local alternative paper, The Reader. There were numerous places offering not just coffee enemas, but all kinds of other flavored enemas, including pina colada enemas. I sh*t you not!

    (ducks head)

    1. windriven says:

      That is the funniest comment I’ve read since WLU’s ‘homeoflop’ comment a couple of weeks ago!

    2. calliarcale says:

      Reminds me of a case I heard about a few years ago. Not a medical case; a police investigation. A gentleman died of acute alcohol poisoning. Turned out, his wife had administered his favorite enhancement for their, um, romantic encounters: an alcoholic enema. In particular, it was brandy, which of course went straight into his bloodstream, killing him. They’d done this before, but presumably had managed not to hit the lethal threshold before. It was ruled “death by misadventure”, if I recall correctly, and the wife was not charged. Of course, they weren’t doing it for health benefits; their use of enemas was purely recreational. (Ugh.)

      1. Sean Duggan says:

        Heh. That one showed up on an episode of “1000 Ways To Die”. I want to say that I also read a spy thriller where something like that was used to arrange for a fatal accident. The subject was tied down, a large amount of alcohol was introduced through an enema, then they dropped him off on a traffic island where he was bound to either die of alcohol poisoning or get hit by a car. Said subject had a history of alcoholism, so the results would have come out as plausible.

    3. calliarcale says:

      Suddenly I am reminded of something else — kopi luwak coffee, which is of course the ridiculously expensive coffee that has been previously consumed by a small Indonesian civet cat, excreted, cleaned, and then roasted like normal coffee. It seems the hind end figures into coffee more times than one would normally expect….

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        There’s a university of Guelph food scientists who actually examined the coffee beans, apparently it genuinely does influence the molecular characteristics of the beans, and does produce a different-tasting coffee. More mellow from what I remember. Hooray?

        1. calliarcale says:

          Oh, I’ve no doubt it influences it. I just don’t think it could possibly change it enough to make it worth the price. Or the job of picking it out of cat poo. :-D

          1. No doubt PETA is not amused. Pity the production line civets.

  11. pmoran2013 says:

    Even when delivered by the nursing staff of major hospitals, enemas carry risks: damage to the anal canal, rectal perforation etc,.

    OTOH, believers often describe considerable euphoria after using them, a caution for those who doubt the potential for psychogenic benefits from unlikely treatments.

    1. Carl says:

      a caution for those who doubt the potential for psychogenic benefits from unlikely treatments.

      How “unlikely” is euphoria when a person’s digestive system is flooded with a known stimulant via a method which can cause electrolyte imbalance (which in turn causes dizziness and other mental dysfunction)?

      1. pmoran2013 says:

        Carl: “How “unlikely” is euphoria when a person’s digestive system is flooded with a known stimulant via a method which can cause electrolyte imbalance (which in turn causes dizziness and other mental dysfunction)?”

        Probably not the same feeling of well-being, and if you listen in on CAM discussions you will hear similar experiences described after gall-bladder cleanses and the removal of dental amalgum in the belief that it is causing mercury poisoning .

        People get a kick out of doing stuff that they think is good for them.

        It is also one of the factors that make beneficial placebo responses very plausible. It is even possible that a flood of endorphins, or whatever else is producing this sense of well-being may help terminate illnesses that have a strong subjective or psychosomatic basis. If there is a plausible basis for some testimonials we should not be too quick to dismiss them.


        1. Sean Duggan says:

          … which, of course, is one of the reasons I always take with a grain of salt all of these claims that exercise will “make me feel better”. Darn woo purveyors…

    2. windriven says:

      “OTOH, believers often describe considerable euphoria after using them, a caution for those who doubt the potential for psychogenic benefits from unlikely treatments.”

      Hmmm … psilocybin nausea is an unfortunate side effect for many who mistake psilocybe semilanceata for, ummm, morchella esculenta*. I wonder if the retrograde approach might eliminate the nausea?

      *psilocybe semilanceata are ‘magic’ mushrooms. Morchella are morels. Confusing the two is more or less impossible.

  12. benclimbBen says:

    Considering the overlap between alt-med and conspiracy theorists we could just convince them it’s a plot by big coffee(duh duh duhhh) to get people to drink more coffee(er, I suppose not drink per se…). I would be interested to see how many fall for that one.

    1. No chance, these are fair trade and shade grown coffee enemas. The roasters all drive Priuses.

      1. Ben says:

        Dang, would’ve been sooo funny throu!

  13. Janet Camp says:

    I’m pretty sure it tastes much better when you drink it.

    1. Janet Camp says:

      I am laughing my (coffee less) ass off. You are all in top form today.

    2. Carl says:

      Especially if you drink it first.

  14. Dionigi says:

    Reminds me of the old joke where the patient is not allowed anything by mouth so the nurse gives him a cup of tea as an enema. When the patient sucks in his breath she asks “too hot” “no” he says “not enough sugar”

  15. Marcos Hardy says:

    I would recommend Latte + Croissant per rectum, q6o prn delusions.

    1. sika says:


  16. Irene says:

    I must said that I too was skeptical at one time about coffee enema,but not anymore. You see I have 3 Autoimmune disease.There is a point that I thought that I couldn’t make it.Many years of pain,and insomnia.After juicing with organic vegetables fruits, and coffee enema I was able to fall sound asleep.It’s a shock to me that coffee enema can take the pain right away and helped me sleep.Most of these people who make this negative comments probably have not being sick or have never tried it.

    1. syn says:

      at least 2 people on this thread have some understanding. i cant believe the people here. what a terrible website this is. you all truly have no idea about the realities of the world. i advocate coffee enemas and anything else that is generally ‘shunned’ by the mainstream medical system and advocated by people who it has actually benefitted from their direct experience.

      to everyone else, keep on eating your gmos and injecting your vaccines. someday you will see

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        what a terrible website this is.

        Feel free to leave.

        you all truly have no idea about the realities of the world. i advocate coffee enemas and anything else that is generally ‘shunned’ by the mainstream medical system and advocated by people who it has actually benefitted from their direct experience.

        If you advocate coffee enemas and things shunned by real medicine, then it is quite apparent that you truly have no ideas about the realities of the world. There is no reason to think coffee enemas work, and they’ve never been proven to work. If coffee enemas were demonstrated to be useful for some medical condition, they would be a recommended treatment for that condition. However, people who advocate coffee enemas never test them to see if they work – they just assert that they do. Science is based on reality. If something is real, then it can be tested and shown to work. The fact is, with rare exceptions (mostly herbs like St. John’s Wort, or red yeast extract which produces a chemical molecularly identical to a statin, though with an inconsistent dose) CAM is never proven to work when properly tested. And even when certain CAMs are proven to work, often unrecognized side effects appear (such as photosensitivity for SJW).

        to everyone else, keep on eating your gmos and injecting your vaccines. someday you will see

        This sounds like it’s along the lines of “they’ll pay, they’ll all pay, MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” :)

        Why are you worried about genetically modified food? What specific risks do you think it presents above and beyond normal mutations that are used to produce non-GM crops, or the strips of DNA inserted into foods by certain bacteria even without human intervention? I mean, we got the ideas and tools to make genetic changes from the natural world, we’re mimicking what happens in nature anyway, we’re just doing it in a way that produces foods that more consistently benefit humans. And what are your concerns with vaccines? Why do you think vaccines are worse than the illnesses they prevent?

  17. Rod w says:

    I think it’s truly funny how some of these people have wrote such foolish comments… First of all people coffee taken orally stimulates the brain… To wake up… Coffee taken rectally stimulates the liver… To release toxins… I think the person who said I don’t see the difference is a fool at best. I had lower back pain, and the coffee enemas relieved that and also never get headaches anymore. Also, when I do them I do them before I go to bed, because my body can rest from the enema. To me it’s best to do them at night when you won’t be putting anything more in your system. My stomach is flatter in the morning more so. I also noticed that my system does not struggle to digest heavy meals if I eat a heavy meal. Also, when youre able to keep your colon clean digestion is more easy and nothing is clogging that pathway. If you have a sluggish system or no energy… Juice greens and do coffee enemas, you will get a natural Jumpstart and be back at peak energy very quickly…. All these stupid speculators on here… I’ve done them they have improved my health, if you are someone that takes meds as a daily routine, these enemas will help with detoxing some of the horrible side effects that come with prescription drugs… your liver was meant to filter normal stuff… Not drugs all the time… So if you can help your system or liver rid itself of this harmful stuff over a period of time, DO SO. Have you ever noticed that western medicine (USA) doesn’t fix anything… They treat symptoms, eastern medicine (Asia,china etc) fixes things cause they attacks things at the underlying root of why the problem happened in the first place. Sad that all these people had such negative opinions about so,etching that can and has help many people. As far as that stupid medical professional who spoke lowly of Max Gerson, there is scientific evidence of his cures of cancer in terminally I’ll patients, so get your story right… If you dumb people think chemo therapy is a cure for cancer you are sadly mistaken. Do the research, chemo patients die. Chemo kills cells good and bad cells… Whereas natural juice does what? Give nutrients to the body! Andwhen overloading your system with nutrients guess what, it’s going to push out toxins… But the coffe enemas help to push out toxins at a faster rate so that the juices can heal the body faster, so the more you juice the more the toxins are pushed into your system, guess what? Coffee enemas rid the body of what the liver released back into your body… So they ride right out of your system. And the results of crap out is always health and healing. I could go on but… I’ve given you enough…

    1. Chris says:

      “Have you ever noticed that western medicine (USA) doesn’t fix anything… They treat symptoms, eastern medicine (Asia,china etc) fixes things cause they attacks things at the underlying root of why the problem happened in the first place”

      By that definition you have to give yourself tea enemas, since coffee originated in Northern Africa and Arabia, which not in Asia.

      And also, if all things Asia are cool, then that means statins and the chicken pox vaccine are also okay dokay because they were developed in Japan. PLUS… homeopathy is not cool because it comes from Germany (and it is a colossal joke).

      Actually, you might want to take a biology/anatomy course and figure out what the exit portion of your alimentary canal does. But that was an amusing rant to read while I drink my coffee the way it was meant to be done: hot, strong, black, no sugar and through the entrance to my alimentary canal.

  18. Rod w says:

    As far as the electrolyte embalance… Drink a Gatorade or some alkaline water during and after you complete your Enema… Wouldn’t that make sense? Lytes can be restored quite easily… Foolish people..

  19. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    What makes sense is “not getting a coffee enema”. Drinking Gatorade after a coffee enema makes about as much sense as taking an iron pill after a course of leeches for smallpox. Yes, there are a small number of extremely specific instances in which leeches are useful. Smallpox is not one of them. Not to mention, Gatorade isn’t going to help your bowel perforation from the unnecessary enema.

    The coffee isn’t stimulating the “release of toxins” because the “toxins” don’t exist. Your liver is a detoxifying organ. It works and regenerates extremely quickly, and doesn’t need assistance from coffee. Plus, where would those toxins go? Into the blood? Into the colon? I’d rather they stay in the liver for further processing rather than being dumped into an organ that is not equipped to handle them. I mean, it’s not like the colon doesn’t get cancer – it does, and a rather deadly cancer at that.

    The distinction between “western” and “eastern” medicine, in addition to being slightly racist, is rather false. There is no such thing, as medicine is either empirical (and thus works in most cases, with recognized limitations and adverse effects) or not (in which if it works at all it is through coincidence). “Eastern” medicine is better characterized as “prescientific” medicine, or perhaps ineffective “medicine”. There is a reason life expectancy increases with the introduction of empirical medicine – it is effective, while the prescientific “medicine” is not.

    Also, I wasn’t aware that coffee enemas were a tradition in “eastern medicine”.

    Final point – would all those delicious nutrients from all those delicious juices also give nutrients to the tumors? In fact, given the evolutionary nature of cancer cells, aren’t you just ensuring it has a nice, healthy, delicious supply of nutrients on which to grow?

    1. Sean Duggan says:

      Mild caveat to that that modern medicine does still sometimes fall under the category of “we’re not entirely certain why this works, or why it works for 90% of the patients but not for all of them” but they’re generally honest about it, and they never stop searching for an answer.

  20. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Mild caveat to that that modern medicine does still sometimes fall under the category of “we’re not entirely certain why this works, or why it works for 90% of the patients but not for all of them” but they’re generally honest about it, and they never stop searching for an answer.

    Sure, but the fact that it is effective for 90% of patients (often unfortunately less) is empirically demonstrated.

  21. pmoran2013 says:

    Rod W, a question: I can accept that you feel better in lots of ways from the use of coffee enemata, but I strongly suspect that it is because we are all psychologically programmed to react that way after treatments that we think might help us, not through the mechanisms you describe.

    My judgement is based partly upon a thorough knowledge of human physiology including of liver function and the body’s defences against “toxins”, but also on the fact that we see a strong pattern of similar responses to ANY treatment at all, even those that have been shown by thorough clinical study to have no intrinsic therapeutic activity.

    What do you think? Is this possible/not likely/nigh on impossible?

  22. Jane says:

    What troubles me about this blog is that it says that Gerson has been investigated and then links to a page that says that 7 human studies were reviewed. Gerson has been used in thousands of cases and there are many success stories. To rely on one instance of it failing to say it is just useless (the second link) lacks the scientific evidence that Gerson itself is often criticised for not having. For Gerson success stories, check out this blog: and

    The fact is that chemo and radiation etc also fail with a large number of people. People diagnosed with different forms of cancer are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal choice and perhaps even a desire to take responsibility for one’s own health. And if the coffee enema makes someone feel better, and they think it’s working, then maybe that positive frame of mind is just enough to tip the balance.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Gerson therapy is dangerous quackery, plain and simple.

      It relies on pseudoscientific principles, outdated understanding of cancer, and utter nonsense. Moreover, when you look more closely at those “success” stories, you’ll find that they aren’t anything of the sort.

      1. Karen DiGrassi says:

        No, I don’t believe in Gerson’s methods, but as far as “success” stories go… neither are an awful lot of the ones attributed to “modern medicine” since the definition of success is a 5 year survival rate. Heck, you can die of cancer 6, or even 3 months later but hey-you were alive at 5 years so that makes you a “success”! And this does not include all those that develop a different cancer later on courtesy of the Chemo drugs which are themselves carcinogens. The idea of a coffee enema both scares me (as a nurse) and disgusts me (as a patient), But if we are comparing results… lets call a spade a spade. NO one has a good Long Term survival track record.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I can’t find it now, but I think Dr. Gorski had a relevant post a while back about cures versus improved quality of life and increased survival time. I think it was about patient perception of what their doctors are trying to tell them about their diagnosis.

          The doubling of life from 6 months to a year can mean a tremendous amount for a father who lives to see their child born, or a chance to see the Pyramids after a lifetime of learning about them. Irrespective, the failure of modern medicine to cure all cancers (and your assessment is questionable, some cures are indeed full cures) in no way justifies the use of an unproven treatment. Though I think this is a point we agree on.

        2. windriven says:

          What a queer comment from someone who identifies as a nurse. One suspects that you have not been a nurse for very long. Survival times for many cancers have increased substantially over the last 30 or so years. We all die of something. A lot of cancer sufferers eventually die of cancer. But medicine has extended the interval between diagnosis and death for many cancers – an interval filled with the activities and relationships that make life worth living in the first place. It isn’t perfect but it gets a little better every day.

  23. syn says:

    no one who is healthy has any idea of the usefulness of alternative therapies. they believe what they have been taught in the mind conforming systems and studies which are designed to eradicate the truth. there is scientific evidence the coffee enemas can work, along with hundreds of other ‘shunned’ therapies of alternative medicine. i am not discrediting the risk, but there is risk with anything.

    its amazing all you gmo-consuming sheeple really think that you know everything and that everything you have been taught is the truth. a vast majority of education and information is falsified. especially in terms of fda ama conducted ‘studies’. our country (and the entier western world of medicine and science) is corrupted like everything else in the modern world. example: fda keeps telling us monsanto science fiction foods are harmless while every single other study done outside of the united states of sheep show horrific outcomes from eating it. im not sure if any of you have seen this article or not but i wonder what your snide opinions on this would be :

    i see people that actually LOOK like that on public transportation system all the time now.

    we continue to treat our own citizens as lab rats. do you want to look like that ? keep eating your mcdonalds. you know that minor food intolerance you have? yeah, the one where you get a slight bit of gas/bloating after eating a delicious gmo meal? well, keep at it. one day you might luck out and develop colon cancer. there has even been shown a new direct correlation between gluten consumption (and intolerance) and the development of multiple myeloma. if you’re really lucky, (meaning you manage to survive ur degenerative illness long enough) look might get to look something like these real lab rats.

    I advocate coffee enemas and acknowledge the risks involved. every treatment has risks and benefits. (except maybe chemo or anything the medical system might try to help you with. chemo may increase length of life in the short-term, but it cripples quality of life and ultimately condemns you to death with practically no hope of coming back around. in comparison, practically ANY alternative approach to treatment of chronic illness has higher success rates.)

    1. windriven says:

      Grow up. Learn the principles of punctuation. Get an education. Then let’s talk. When you make comments such as, “studies which are designed to eradicate the truth” you mark yourself as ignorant.

      Meanwhile, I invite you as I have invited many others before to eschew medicine and embrace quackery – exclusively. No cheating! I’m sure your friendly neighborhood homeopath or naturopath has just the thing for you hot appy and your aortic aneurysm. Be sure to let us know where to send flowers.

  24. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:


    they believe what they have been taught in the mind conforming systems and studies which are designed to eradicate the truth.

    That’s funny, because one of the consistent criticisms raised on this website is that doctors are now credulously embracing SCAMs. In a way we agree – doctors do believe what they are taught, unfortunately what they are being taught is that homeopathy is effective and acupuncture relieves pain. If more doctors thought for themselves then “integrative medicine” wouldn’t exist.

    there is scientific evidence the coffee enemas can work, along with hundreds of other ‘shunned’ therapies of alternative medicine. i am not discrediting the risk, but there is risk with anything.

    Well if this is the case, surely you can link to some of this evidence? It’s quite easy to make a blanket claim, it’s only a little harder to include a few weblinks – please make the effort, otherwise we can’t tell if you are simply lying.

    its amazing all you gmo-consuming sheeple really think that you know everything and that everything you have been taught is the truth. a vast majority of education and information is falsified.

    Oh look at you, you’re adorable, repeating exactly what you’ve been told to repeat by your guru while hypocritically calling others “sheeple”! Hypocrisy is the cutest!

    every single other study done outside of the united states of sheep show horrific outcomes from eating it. im not sure if any of you have seen this article or not but i wonder what your snide opinions on this would be :

    First, some general points:
    1) Will anything we say, any evidence we present, ever change your mind? If nothing will ever convince you that GMO foods are safe, then you are not interested in a scientific conversation and there’s little point in continuing the conversation (and it’s again hypocritical of you to attempt to use science when you ignore the parts you disagree with).
    2) Every single study? No study outside of the United States has ever pronounced GMO to be safe? Not even this one from Australia, or this one from Sweden or this one from China or this one from Spain? There are more, I just stopped looking.

    And now some specific points about that particular study. Seralini’s study of rats fed transgenic mice is considered a poor one for various reasons. They are actually enumerated on many different websites, but off the top of my head, here are a couple points:
    – These are heavily-inbred rat strains, deliberately bred because they are prone to tumors. They are not genetically-diverse people lacking a propensity to develop tumors. People aren’t rats and in particular are not lab rats, which often are genetically identical because it removes a variable you must control for in your studies.
    – The study showed no dose-response relationship. That means that normally if something is “toxic” or has some sort of effect, you see a sloping line as you get more or less of it. In other words, if something causes tumors to grow, getting a bit of that “something” should give you no, or smaller tumors. Getting a bit more should make the tumors bigger. Getting a fair bit, rather large tumors. The animals getting the highest dose should have the biggest tumors. In Seralini’s study, tumors were largest in the groups getting middling-amounts of GMO foods, and this is actually evidence that GMO foods are protective against large tumor growth. Another interpretation is that the results are due to chance and the rats grew tumors because these rats are prone to tumors.
    – The analysis was (IIRC) basically an “eyeball” – there was no adequate statistical test. In fact, Seralini used such a complicated design, with so few animals in each group, that the results were basically uninterpretable (in technical terms, it was “underpowered”). A single rat with an unusual number or size of tumors could skew the “analysis”, such as it was, into “significance”, even if the other rats in the group showed no comparable changes. Some results are due purely to chance.

    There are actually a lot of criticisms of this study, it’s basically regarded as a complete waste of time, money and rats. You can find more information, written at a popular level, here:

    i see people that actually LOOK like that on public transportation system all the time now.

    Yes, but people aren’t rats, and as I said above, in particular are not heavily-inbred strains of tumor-prone rats. You might want to ask those people on the bus if the lumps are tumors, though they might take offence because it’s pretty rude (and I’m guessing you’ll start hectoring them over GMO as a result).

    we continue to treat our own citizens as lab rats.

    You don’t seem to understand the issues of prior probability involved. For the most part, the risks of GMO are not unique to human modification through genetic modification. For instance, if we put a fish gene into a tomato, to make a protein that prevents ice crystals from forming and thus prevents the tomato from freezing during growth or transport – you already eat that protein when you eat the fish. Are you afraid to eat the fish because of the protein? If not, then why be afraid of it in the tomato?

    BT corn grows a substance that is selectively toxic to certain insects. Do you eat organic food? If so, you’ve already eaten the toxin, as the rules of organic farming permit spraying of crops with a bacteria that produces this toxin as a form of “natural” organic insecticide. Fortunately, we are not vulnerable to this toxin because we are not insects (in fact, even among insects the specific toxin has to be modified to be selectively detrimental to specific species). What’s the difference between eating it off of the skin of an apple versus the inside of a corn kernel?

    We have modified crops throughout history to make them more edible, though through breeding rather than GMO (for instance, this is a wild banana, this shows what wild wheat looks like, and crabapples are what wild apples look like). Breeding is messy and unpredictable, and often we lose the trait we are trying to breed for. GMO allows you to add single traits (genes) into existing plants which in turn allow you to surgically improve a single aspect of the plant making it superior for farming or consumption – faster growing, sweeter, firmer or softer, etc.

    Genes are modified through the use of a bacteria or virus that selectively inserts target DNA into the plant or animal’s genome. We didn’t create these bacteria or viruses – we found them in nature and used them to selectively insert beneficial genes into crops, rather than relying on nature which does so haphazardly and indifferently to human survival or suffering. In fact, the human genome is already riddled with “nonhuman” DNA through the activity of endogenous retroviruses. Again, this already happens, billions of times every day – we’re just making sure it’s happening in ways that produce food we regard as “better”.
    you know that minor food intolerance you have? yeah, the one where you get a slight bit of gas/bloating after eating a delicious gmo meal? well, keep at it. one day you might luck out and develop colon cancer.Colon cancer is often the result of inadequate fiber intake, so yeah – eating too many meals from McDonald’s could be a risk factor. However, note that colon cancer did exist before genetic modification. Further, the intolerance is an allergic reaction in the gut to an ingredient in the meal. GMO foods, unlike those produced by conventional breeding, are actually tested for allergenicity, making them safer than conventionally-bred counterparts. As far as I know, food intolerances are unrelated to colon cancer, do you have any evidence of a link?

    there has even been shown a new direct correlation between gluten consumption (and intolerance) and the development of multiple myeloma.

    How does this related to genetic modification? Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein in wheat, it’s not the result of genetic engineering. If there is a link between gluten consumption and myeloma, this is of concern of course – it’s just related to bread consumption rather than genetic modification. I’m not an expert, but it looks like this is being studied and I’m not positive, but the test seems to argue against a link.

    I advocate coffee enemas and acknowledge the risks involved.

    Why not just drink it? Why take the risk of putting it up your butt instead of down your throat? What benefit do you think it provides? How much does this cost, and how much money are you willing to shell out before you question whether it’s worth it?

    except maybe chemo or anything the medical system might try to help you with. chemo may increase length of life in the short-term, but it cripples quality of life and ultimately condemns you to death with practically no hope of coming back around. in comparison, practically ANY alternative approach to treatment of chronic illness has higher success rates

    You’re partly right – some chemo is purely for quality of life. Other chemo is completely curative. It depends on what it’s being used for. “Cancer” is not a single thing, it varies according to the type of cells involved, and virtually none have the same treatment. Some are removed purely through surgery, with chemo as an option to reduce the risk of recurrence. Some (i.e. blood cancers) are the only option because there is no solid tumor to remove. And in some cases it is used to reduce the risk of metastases, tumors too small and numerous to be removed surgically. It depends. In each case, there is an evidence base to support the use of a specific drug with a specific tumor. Drugs that don’t work are abandoned, and new drugs are selected for testing.

    Meanwhile, SCAM treatments like coffee enemas are rarely tested. If they are, they often are found to be worthless (or even worse, harmful). Despite this fact, people still use them.

    Why do you think coffee enemas are useful? How do you know they work? Do you simply trust the person giving them to you? Why trust them? Do they charge you for the treatment? How do you know they aren’t simply exploiting you? Do they carefully track their patients? Do they follow-up with patients for whom the enemas do not help, and do they make a point of informing you of these patients, or do they just tell you about the good stories and ignore their failures? What is their success rate?

    1. Marcos Hardy says:

      Where on Earth do you guys find the time and the stamina to answer to these idiocies?
      From one of my mentors I learnt something invaluable when studying for my degree: “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it is a waste of time and it annoys the pig.”

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I always heard it as “never try to wrestle a pig, you both get dirty but the pig enjoys it” :)

        I’m always aimed at lurkers, who might be on the fence or not realize that these already-answered fallacies have already been answered. Unfortunately you have to do this for pretty much every thread, it’s like playing whack-a-mole. Fortunately, I like playing whack-a-mole.

        Anyone who posts a statement rather than a question is rarely going to bother reading any responses.

      2. windriven says:

        “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it is a waste of time and it annoys the pig.”

        I once had a poster of a pig – rather worse for the wear – in a mud puddle with that epigram attached. Wish I still had it.

        1. Oink Oink says:

          So glad to hear that medical professionals consider their patients pigs, and not worthy of a straight forward explanation and that you find it funny to joke about it in a public forum. Especially for those facing cancer, whose options are surgery, chemo or death, this is quite disrespectful. Not to mention that not all of the citizens of the US could afford Surgery or Chemo needed in their cases without suffering complete financial ruin.

          I am not in the medical profession, but am quite educated, and I am frequently upset when Doctors don’t give me the time of day to explain things.

          As a professional myself, I find it my professional challenge and obligation to explain things to my clients in a way that they can understand, rather than dismissing their questions or concerns due to their lack of specific education in the subject.

          I have read several things over the years about Gerson and this therapy, and I realize that it’s effectiveness has been debated since it’s inception, yet from my knowledge has yet to be concretely disproved. Wouldn’t the most scientific way to refute this nearly 100 year old argument be to perform some studies to disprove it, correct? Yet I see no one posting links to any material of the sort. To me there wouldn’t be so many comments here if one person could point us all to concrete proof denying this as a valid treatment for anything.

          To all the naysayers here, can you point us to medical research that outright disproves the effectiveness of coffee enemas for any ailment?

          In fact in my mind this remains a debate because there are some people who find benefits from this practice. Yet since there are so many reasons people seek out this practice from simple headaches to Stage 4 cancer, studies would have to be done for each ailment separately. Why would the same Medical Professionals who consider us “Pigs” and deemed Mr. Gerson a quack nearly 100 years ago, put any money towards possibly giving his theories and research any proof or disproof.

          I certainly know that if I am faced with cancer, in comparison to Surgery, Chemo or Death, a coffee enema doesn’t sound half bad. I don’t believe I would perform this practice if I did not have some type of ailment I was trying to address.

          We as patients cannot always blindly trust in the Scientific Approach to everything. Here is an example from my own life. My wife was diagnosed with Graves Disease many years ago. She was prescribed a drug called PTU, after finding she was allergic to methimazole. PTU today has now been “Black Boxed” because it has been shown to cause Liver Damage sometimes resulting in Liver Transplants and/or Death. We put our utmost trust in our Doctor, Prescription Drug Companies and our Government to make sure these drugs were safe, and they were not. I am not saying that coffee enemas have anything to do with my wife’s condition, but just pointing out the method of scientifically proving these drugs were safe, has failed my wife and I. So that is why I am skeptical of everyone on this page who is so quick to dismiss this method, without pointing to concrete proof. Without proof all of the comments on this page, yay or nay, are just opinions. I personally am always skeptical of everything health care related, whether it be holistic approaches such as a coffee enema or something that has been deemed previously safe and acceptable by medical professionals such as PTU.

          – Just a “Pig”

          1. Chris says:

            “To all the naysayers here, can you point us to medical research that outright disproves the effectiveness of coffee enemas for any ailment?”

            Actually you have that backwards. You need to provide that evidence that it actually does anything, and is not dangerous.

            And as for research on Gerson, this this:

            And some articles on this blog, like this one:

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            The straightforward explanation is “coffee enemas are a waste of time, the people who receive them are being fooled (by themselves or by their naturopaths) and the people who promote them are credulous, arrogant and/or simply greedy.”

            If you think Gerson therapy works, you are rather not educated (regarding quackery), thanks, and you deserve whatever mockery you are given. Thinking the burden of proof falls on us, the people asserting Gerson doesn’t work, also shows you ignorant (this time of philosophy, but also medicine, see here). Similarly, thinking medicines are “safe” also demonstrates your lack of education (of medicine). Medicines have safety and effectiveness ratios and margins, they are not absolutes.

            But I bet every time you walk into a doctor’s office, you make a big deal about how educated you are and how arrogant doctors are. And I bet your naturopath or whatever flavour of quackery you think tastes best, just spends a lot of time agreeing with you about how arrogant doctors are and how dangerous drugs are. I bet it makes shelling out the fee at the end of the visit slide down nice and easy.

  25. Efrain says:

    Well, I know my statement will not be posted because I am a believer in coffee enemas. You don’t have to believe it just try it on a patient or yourself. I have and I have not only lost weight, but I also feel very energetic. Thank God I do not give too much thought to it, otherwise I would have never known how wonderful coffee enemas are.

    1. imil42 says:

      There are at least four uncensored coffee-enema supporters above you.
      As for your experience: you feel energetic? That’s what caffeine does to you. You lost weight? Enemas might cause this, but most likely you changed your diet as well. Sorry, but no miracle.

  26. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Oh, look at that – your comment appeared.

    You may believe in coffee enemas, that doesn’t mean they do anything. And I’m not surprised you feel very energetic, you’re getting a rather substantial dose of caffeine with each one. Not to mention, if you have lost weight, it costs you less energy to undertake the activities of daily life. The real flaw is attributing your weight loss to the enema rather than a change in your diet or exercise. In fact, caffeine is an ergogenic aid, a stimulant and an appetite supressant, so it might make it easier for you to exercise, it might force you to exercise, and it might help you eat less. However, there’s no reason to take it up the butt instead of orally (and no evidence that it’s healpful over the long term, and your body will undergo adaptation to the dose, eventually going into withdrawal if you keep it up long enough but suddenly cease).

    Jebus people, drink your coffee. It tastes better and you don’t have to worry about heart attacks from electrolyte imbalances or rectal perforation.

  27. MARCOS HARDY says:

    Rectal perforation, you said? Well, maybe that doesn’t sound as bad as it does to you to the people, men and women, that like to shove objects up theirs. You have no idea how many baguettes and Coke bottles I had to extract from “there” in my heydays of training in the Emergency Rooms. I still keep an old abdominal x-ray of a sassy lady with the rectum occupied by an object that shows a filament and the brand name, “Osram.” A light bulb! Have you stopped to consider that the people that advocate these kind of enemas are in fact perverse paraphiliacs? Betcha that most of them have tried giving themselves, or aided by a partner, concoctions with a high stimulant content. Mountain Dew or Red Bull enemas, anyone?

  28. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Baguettes? What, like stale ones? Given the diameter-versus-tensile strength, isn’t bending an issue?

  29. brit says:

    As I am doing one right now I can feel all the pain leave me that has been chronically plaguing me for over 5 years due to TMJ. I’ve seen every specialist that there is and no One could help me. it literally takes it away 100 percent for several days after each one. my husband Takes them daily and has never had a single issue nor have I. in fact we can feel my liver getting back up When We have detoxifying raw fruit and vegetable juices. for someone to completely say there’s no credibility that has never even tried 1 is the actual quack. these have been used since biblical times and are a holistic way to detoxify and get rid of pain. unfortunately the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t benefit from these so of course they Get Doctors to say Its Not Based On Science But Max Gerson did perform clinical trials and did have results. Watch “The Gerson Miracle” And “Its A Beautiful Truth” before you believe this doctor. both available for free on the internet. do your own research and not Blindly Believe somebody that works in an industry supported by the pharmaceutical companies.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      1) Big Pharma and other “but they make money” is an excuse used by people too lazy to deal with the actual evidence. For instance, I could simply say “Well, you probably work for the Gerson Institute and get paid to write badly-spelled, poorly-punctuated comments on critical blogs”. Saying “this person gets paid to shill” isn’t an argument and it reflects poorly on your ability to understand the evidence.

      2) Your personal experience is not proof (for instance, we have no idea if what you are saying is actually true, see point one) and even sounds questionable (every specialist? Every single pain specialist in the country, or the world?).

      3) People who undertake difficult, expensive or in this case bizarre treatment options are often strongly motivated to see subjective improvements over time, and minimize any regressions or new symptoms (i.e. “it’s just the toxins coming out” or “my body is adjusting to running without shoes”).

      4) What “toxins” are you eliminating with raw fruit and vegetable juices?

      5) If you find “biblical times” arguments to be convincing, perhaps you should try praying to Thoth – Ancient Egyptians found it extremely powerful a treatment, and it’s more than two thousand years older than the Bible! I mean, older is better, right? Previous generations lived, like, 900 years! It’s right there in the Bible, and if the Bible says it, it must be true, right!?!?!?!?

      6) Actually, science says Gerson therapy shouldn’t work – cancer isn’t due to toxins, it’s due to genetic mutations. Toxins might be responsible for those mutations, but removing the toxins in no way helps cancer, any more than putting a seatbelt on a car crash victim heals their injuries. Not all cancers are related to the liver either. And actual tests of the Gonzalez protocol, successor to Gerson therapy, found that people not only died faster, they died in greater pain and with much lower quality of life compared to those undertaking chemotherapy. You can read more here about the Gerson and Gonzalez protocols, as well as The Beautiful Truth and The Gerson Miracle. Incidentally, who paid for those films? Was it perhaps the Gerson clinic?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Also – you’re doing one right now? Gross. I hope you washed your hands.

  30. John K says:

    Are you all against the idea of an enema or is it specifically an enema made from an extract of Coffea Arabica?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I can’t speak to anyone else, but I am against any use of enemas that is not supported by a scientific rational and evidence for a specific indication (bar in some sort of reasonable research study). I am particularly against the use of enemas to treat cancer (because it kills people quickly and rather brutally, and has been tested and failed), and “toxins” because they are never identified or measured. Enemas for otherwise-intractable constipation would be about the only use I think is reasonable.

      Enemas play to or contamination fears, that we are being poisoned from the inside. It’s an old fear, and it’s just as wrong now as it was when the Ancient Egyptians used it.

  31. John K says:

    Before the widespread use of IV’s and Nasogastric tubes as a method of administering medicine and nutrients, the enema was a very widely used method to accomplish these tasks. It was used to administer pain medications, alleviate certain conditions or even to nourish and hydrate the patient.
    And I’m not talking about “alternative” medicine. This was a standard practice and any perusal of any medical textbook from 50-100 years ago will prove this out.

    But thankfully, science USUALLY does win out and we’re seeing things like the PSA test for prostate cancer now being cast aside by virtually everyone in responsible medicine. It appears to exist only to line the pockets of those administering the test

  32. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Sure John, but the key word in your statement is “before”. The part of the intestine best adapted to absorbing nutrients is very, very far from the colon, and IV anything avoids first-pass effects in the liver, which is superior to your butthole. At best the colon might be good for absorbing water (that’s its purpose) but why would that be better than an IV line? Unless there is a very good reason to revert to medical practice from 100 years past, I don’t know why we would move backwards. And in particular, I can’t think of any medical reason to employ a coffee enema. It’s not a drug, and it tastes better (for most, I don’t drink coffee) orally.

  33. John K says:

    Your original argument was that you are against the use of enemas not supported by scientific rational and evidence for a specific indication.
    I showed that that there are many medicinal uses of enemas which met that criteria.

    Now you’re saying the reason we shouldn’t use enemas is because we have IV’s.

    Your argument is shifting….. Please pick one and stick with it.

    And by the way, IV’s are great. But they do have certain drawbacks such as being a source of infection, the medicine doesn’t pass thru the protective epithelial layer of the intestine/alimentary tract etc. (sometimes this is desired so not all bad).

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Describing your example as “meeting the bare minimum standard” would be accurate. Yes, you could provide fluids, nutrients and medicine rectally (you could also give it peritoneally, or inject it directly into the ventricles of the brain, or into the cerebrospinal fluid, or through whole-body immersion, which wouldn’t be efficient, or through direct injection into the aqueous humor of the eye). That doesn’t mean you should, for reasons I’ve given and doubtless more. I can add to that, “chances are the patients wouldn’t want them”. Your counter-claim is spurious, and in no way validates giving coffee rectally – since there is no medical reason to give coffee, and certainly not rectally. Coffee is food, not a drug. I don’t need to justify the use or disuse of enemas, I’m not arguing for them. It is up to whoever is claiming enemas, and really, coffee enemas, to provide research supporting their use.

      But if you’re convinced of their evidence-based superiority to IV or nasogastric tubes, surely you can provide references to support enemas being better for fluids, nutrients and medicine. Pubmed-indexed publications or scholarly textbooks appreciated, thanks.

      Claiming IV has drawbacks is hardly an astonishing insight, and there are lots more than infection, but that doesn’t mean we should automatically start administering things rectally, which itself comes with drawbacks.

  34. John K says:

    Oh, I’ve not made any comment on whether coffee enemas are good, bad, or indifferent. I’m not trying to validate them. I’m just trying to see what folks believe about enemas in general. You are welcome to look up in past editions of the Merck Manual for a complete listing of the proven ways enemas can be used.

    Please don’t try and keep moving your arguments. I never hinted that enemas were better or worse than IV’s.

    And by the way, the body does not recognize coffee as a food but more rather as a drug. It contains only a very very slight trace of any nutrient usable by the body. Its constituent elements cause effects like vasoconstriction and various nerve and heart disorders. Not a fan of coffee here….

  35. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I’m not sure what your point is supposed to be, beyond distorting what I’ve said. I’ve acknowledged that enemas can be used to deliver fluids, nutrients and medicine. I’ve also pointed out that there are other, generally superior ways to do this. You don’t have to convince me that people took medicine rectally (and still do, suppositories do exist after all). You do have to convince me that there is any medical benefit to taking coffee rectally, the point of the original article. You are tilting at windmills made of straw men. We’re not really arguing, you’re nit picking, presumably to annoy me. Since I like pointing out where other people are wrong, I don’t really mind.

    Sure, one could consider coffee as an extremely low-potency drug. Though more accurately, the caffeine is the drug, coffee is the delivery mechanism. See? I enjoyed correcting your sloppy terminology. I hope you learned something.

    1. cin5470 says:

      Lean about gerson before calling him a moron , pray you don’t get cancer

      1. cin5470 says:

        John…. William is probably pro pesticides and GMO s also ! Don’t waste your time anymore with him .

      2. windriven says:

        “Lean about gerson before calling him a moron , pray you don’t get cancer”

        I’ve learned about him. He’s a moron.

        I don’t pray because I don’t have anything to pray to. But I hope I don’t get cancer. Moreover, I hope that YOU don’t get cancer. If I get cancer I’ll have the best care that medical science can offer. If you get cancer you’ll get cheap thrills and a headstone.

        1. Marcos Hardy says:

          Brilliant response!

      3. Chris says:

        Um, there is a search box on this website. There might be some interesting articles here on Gerson.

        And if I do get cancer, I hope I have the same medical expertise that I see on this blog, including the surgeon. Many cancers are treated by surgery. Did you know that?

        The chemo and radiation are to catch errant cancerous cells.

  36. CJ says:

    You say “proven to be useless” then the reference you send us to argues “there’s not enough evidence to support this method”.

    There’s not enough evidence to support or deny this method, currently.

    Science Based means you need some science to base your claim, not just a mere absence of it.

  37. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:


    I do believe pesticides have a role in feeding the world, but must be carefully used to avoid human toxicity and pest resistance. That’s why I’m a fan of glyphosate, which is not toxic to humans and degrades rapidly (though it’s a herbicide, not a pesticide). And I do favour the use of genetic modification to improve crops and animals, since it is much more precise than the conventional techniques of cross-breeding and blasting the seeds with mutagens in hope of something favourable. Why do you oppose genetic modification, when the products are normally proteins that already exist in nature, and are just digested by the body anyway?

    Also, I don’t pray about cancer, I follow the evidence-based recommendations of mainstream science. Eat fruits and vegetables, avoid radiation, exercise, sleep enough, and don’t drink pesticides.

    Science can never conclusively prove or disprove anything (it’s impossible to prove a negative anyway), but it can test and note when the treatment fails to offer any benefits. If there’s not enough evidence to support a method, why pretend it’s anything but an idea, a borderline-failed hypothesis? If this were a chemotherapy drug, the SCAM fans would be up in arms over how evil Big Pharma is to push such an impotent drug on the population. But because it’s injecting coffee up your ass, it’s fine and we should just trust the Gerson clinic. Why the hypocrisy, why the double-standard? There certainly isn’t enough evidence to pretend coffee enemas are worth the (low) risks.

    1. Brian says:

      You apparently aren’t aware of the toxin that is in genetically modified corn. It’s a toxin that cause the insects stomach to explode when they ingest the corn. It was tested for all of 6 weeks on humans by the same company that stands to make all the profits from it. Isn’t that a conflict of interests? Anyway, another study was performed on pregnant women in Canada and they found the toxin had accumulated in the blood and umbilical cord to their fetuses. Unless you buy organic corn this is the corn you are eating right now in everything that contains corn, which is pretty much everything. Look it up it is a scientific fact.

      1. Chris says:

        Then why can you buy in a garden store? They even say it is certified for organic gardening.

        Please provide citations for your claims. Especially for the pregnant woman study.

      2. weing says:

        “Look it up it is a scientific fact.”
        Probably as factual as your sister’s cure.

      3. Harriet Hall says:

        I looked it up. This “scientific fact” is a myth that has been debunked on Snopes:

  38. Marina says:

    i am from another country and worked in childrens ER for many years. There, MDs prescribe enemas, not coffee once but cleansing. I never ever saw anyone having a side effect of it or adverse reaction even in little babies. all the result you get with it is good and healing. so it s really funny to me to read that enemas became a dangerous thing. unless american asses are built differently and in a very special way.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      What are they “cleansing”? Is it perhaps “toxins“?

      The risks of enemas are low. But if there are no benefits, then there is no reason to expose a patient to any risk. If enemas only perforate 1/1000 bowels, that’s still one completely unnecessary bowel perforation. It’s also a complete waste of time and money without a valid medical reason.

    2. karen says:

      i love it!

  39. Rose says:

    Its now 10 months after my breast cancer diagnosis (HER2+). I have had 6xChemo, surgery with all lymph nodes removed followed up with 33 rounds of radiation and still on Herceptin until January 2014. Would I do this all over again?…You bet!! – the chemo had shrunk the cancer that it was difficult to find and all my margins were clear.

    I recall waking after surgery and feeling ecstatic and well. Yep, I’m still bald and I still have chemo side effects but I believe I am on a path to healing. I have lots of green/red/orange juices, supplements, walk for 1 hour a day, swim, do yoga, cut out all refined sugar, processed foods and most wheat products (by choice) but I still enjoy my good strong Italian espresso every day..orally!

    I believe in balance, good food, exercise, fresh air and ….(tested).science. Even Ian Gawler’s ex wife believed his ‘study’ was tampered with!
    Thank you Dr Dennis Slamon.

    1. Chris says:

      Congratulations and please enjoy good health for several more years.

      It gives you more time to sit and smell the roses. I love swimming, plus I have named my mental health therapies of choice: weed therapy and prune therapy. Though I have actually been walking this summer more than swimming. I have discovered some lovely gardens in my neighborhood, so I am adding “talking to other gardeners therapy” to my list! (ooh, and I learned where the honeybees that visit all the time live, those neighbors have a hive box at a sitting area on top of their garage!).

      Though with so very little rain this summer in Seattle, I have also added “water therapy.” I am so glad I planted lots of peppers this summer. They are going nuts!

  40. Rose says:

    Seattle… Pearl Jam territory – seeing them in Seattle,, all the way from Sydney, Australia is on my bucket list. Go the peppers!

  41. There are many different ways to improve one’s health. Anything carried to extremes is not helpful. As for coffee enemas, I don’t get buzzed nor feel any caffeine effects from them. This is odd, because when I have my monthly cup of coffee, I am definitely feeling the effects of the caffeine. My goal is to live healthy as long as I can, and die peacefully in my sleep. Coffee enemas two or three times a week are one thing I do to meet that goal; right now they make sense to me on an intuitive level. When that sense feels wrong, or when I start forgetting to do them, I will stop. And start again, when I need.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Why are you admitting that intuition is your guide? Don’t you realize this is a science-based website? Intuitions are notoriously unreliable and are only useful as a starting point for testing beliefs.

    2. So if your intuition tells you harm someone then is that ok too?

    3. Woo Fighter says:

      You claim to be a registered nurse and yet you practice craniosacral therapy and “infant massage,” not to mention self-inflicting useless and potentially-dangerous coffee enemas? Were you absent from nursing school when they taught real science?

      Just exactly what benefits do you think you get from the enemas? Do you really believe in the “liver detoxification” nonsense? Is that what you were taught in RN school?

      As an RN, would you recommend a cancer patient undergo coffee enemas as a cancer treatment (a la Gerson)?

      1. Js says:

        You all need to watch “Dying to Have Known”, a documentary on the Gerson Therapy. It works and many people attest to it.

        1. Chris says:

          Why should we watch an infomercial that is actually sold by Gerson? Just post the PubMed indexed studies that show it is effective. Not any movies by Steve Kroschel, some have been reviewed on this blog.

        2. Harriet Hall says:

          Many people attest to Gerson Therapy, but many people attest to all kinds of snake oil. Gerson Therapy has not been proven to work, and the Gonzalez protocol based on it has been proven to shorten the lives of cancer patients. See

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Would you trust a similar documentary made by Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline to be an accurate summary of how to treat cancer (using only their products)? I wouldn’t. I would want to see the clinical trials. There’s one for the Gonzalez protocol. It didn’t end well – people died faster, and in greater misery, see here. It’s easy to interview satisfied patients, the harder bit is interviewing the dead ones for whom it didn’t work aside from making their last days miserable.

  42. I take a coffee enema every second day. Thanks to the internet the Gerson message has come to Ireland. Anecdotal evidence counts. I don’t need an authoritarian body to point the quacks out for me thanks, I can see now that mainsream doctors are quacks- drug quacks. Don’t knock it till you try it.
    The tide is turning and the people who base their arguments on junk industry science funded by the manufacturers of the inefective drugs are being told their wrong but their ignorance blinds them. I’ll keep taking my enemas with ‘cream and sugar’ and no ones’ snide remarks are going to stop me.
    I’ll reccomend it to anyone who seems interested- they’ll try it if they’re curious enough-they’ll pass on the information and so the chain continues. The Gerson therapy will reach people no matter what obstacles the industry throws in it’s way.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Anecdotal evidence doesn’t count because of selection bias. If you talk to everyone you can find who used the Gerson or Gonzalez protocol and survived your cancer, you might be able to find a lot of people to talk to. In fact, you’ll only be able to talk to survivors, because everyone else is dead. From cancer. Anecdotes are too easy to cherry-pick.

      I don’t know why you are more disparaging of junk science than you are of no science. Do you think proponents of the Gerson protocol have no motive to lie?

      And how is “the industry” preventing Gerson therapy from reaching anyone? What prevents Gerson practitioners from conducting well-designed scientific trials? What forces them to rely on anecdotes and testimonials? Is it perhaps because they allow practitioners to keep more of their precious, precious profits, or because they just don’t care about the people who died of cancer while squirting coffee up their asses?

  43. Marcos Hardy says:

    I am a firm believer that you should be free to shove up your bum anything you want without the need to resort to explanations of cokamamie benefits. Just enjoy it and don’t call it Science or anything like that. You don’t need us that toiled in Science for years tto tell you what to put up your rectum. As Mr. Gerson might have said: “up yours and pony up the money. “

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Enjoy, indeed! It’s called Klismaphilia. “As with all fetishes, is much more prevalent among males. When liquid enters the bowels, pressure is applied to the back wall of the rectum, which is right next to the prostate and seminal vesicles. Aside from the benefits of intense anal stimulation, the sensation of being fulfilled and the consequential sensation of release once the enema reaches completion is a source of intense satisfaction….”

  44. Marcos Hardy says:

    Let them enjoy their little perversions, then. Just don’t pay attention when they taunt “benefits a la Gerson.” Let them monetarily support Gerson and put an end to all this idiotic discussion. Move on!

    1. Chris says:

      Okay, when I was in the hospital recovering from being ripped stem to stern after giving birth to a kid who had a too big head, and after that newborn was transferred to another hospital for seizures… I got to overhear a very strange conversation at the nurses’ station. The absolutely one point of levity I had for the next week or so.

      Someone from the emergency department came up to the maternity ward to ask if they could borrow a pair of forceps to remove an apple from someone’s anus. They had tried their normal tools, but they needed something that would not slice into the fruit.

      I just did a google image search on “x-ray anus”, and the results were educational.

      Yes, shoving anything up the wrong way does create some kind of feeling. And it has nothing to do with cancer. Plus while trying to force things up the wrong end the alimentary canal is embarrassing, it could be worse. I am now cringing.

      1. windriven says:

        “it could be worse”

        Oh gahhhhhdddddd! I had a chlamydia test once that involved swabbing the urethra with a swab. It felt a bit like a hot soldering iron being inserted. I just cannot imagine….

    2. Taff Roberts says:

      Check this out
      A Special Interview with Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez
      By Dr. Mercola

      1. Marcos Hardy says:

        I watch Speedy Gonzalez, no other one! At least Speedy is funny, this other one is pathetic. Still, it is your privilege to watch anyone you want and then enjoy their “up yours” practices in the comfort of your home. Wish you good thrills!

  45. weing says:

    “PTU today has now been “Black Boxed” because it has been shown to cause Liver Damage sometimes resulting in Liver Transplants and/or Death. We put our utmost trust in our Doctor, Prescription Drug Companies and our Government to make sure these drugs were safe, and they were not. ”

    Are you saying your wife has liver damage from PTU? Or is it that you learned that it can cause it and that horrifies you? You do realize it is very rare, and usually appears within the first 6 months of therapy, don’t you? The recommendation is to use it second line if Methimazole is not tolerated, which appeared to be the case with your wife. We are constantly learning in medicine and with time rare side effects become known. We do not have infallible knowledge handed down from some all knowing guru or whatever. Medicine is a work in progress. It’s interesting that you are horrified by the rare risk of a side effect of a medication that has been around and widely used since the 1940s with proven benefit, and are giving a pass to a quack therapy that has no proven benefit.

  46. Andina says:

    science has helped humanity more than any moron may admit. I say moron as there are people who believe that everything is a conspiracy against them, in a global underground organisation to steal the money from the poor etc etc etc
    Medicine is not a very exact science due to the fact that the human organism is extremely complicated and as noted above it is a work in progress, however that doesnt mean that everything that your doctor says is wrong and that the coffee enema (and other snake oil suggestions) is a panacea for all evils.
    One needs to be cautious with every idea that comes up even if practiced for millennia. The average life expectancy of humans has been rising for the last hundreds of years enormously, yet some people still believe that old is good…
    Until such time as clinical studies under proper laboratory conditions have proved the efficacy of a CE I would remain cautious if I were you.

  47. Christopher says:

    Any doctor should know that this procedure was in the prestigious Merck Manual until 1972.

    Dr. Max Gerson used this clinically as part of a general detoxification regimen, first for tuberculosis, then cancer. Caffeine, he postulated, will travel up the hemorrhoidal to the portal vein and thence to the liver itself. Gerson noted some remarkable effects of this procedure. For instance, patients could dispense with all pain-killers once on the enemas. Many people have noted the paradoxical calming effect of coffee enemas.

    And while coffee enemas can relieve constipation, Gerson cautioned: “Patients have to know that the coffee enemas are not given for the function of the intestines but for the stimulation of the liver.”

    Coffee enemas were an established part of medical practice when Dr. Max Gerson introduced them into cancer therapy in the 1930s. Basing himself on German laboratory work, Gerson believed that caffeine could stimulate the liver and gall bladder to discharge bile. He felt this process could contribute to the health of the cancer patient.

    Although the coffee enema has been heaped with scorn, there has been some independent scientific work that gives credence to this concept. In 1981, for instance, Dr. Lee Wattenberg and his colleagues were able to show that 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, the harmful chemicals now commonly implicated in the initiation of cancer. In mice, for example, these systems are enhanced 600% in the liver and 700% in the bowel when coffee beans are added to the mice’s diet.

    Dr. Peter Lechner, who is investigating the Gerson method at the Landeskrankenhaus of Graz, Austria, has reported that “coffee enemas have a definite effect on the colon which can be observed with an endoscope.” F.W. Cope (1977) has postulated the existence of a “tissue damage syndrome.” When cells are challenged by poison, oxygen deprivation, malnutrition or a physical trauma they lose potassium, take on sodium and chloride, and swell up with excess water.

    Another scientist (Ling) has suggested that water in a normal cell is contained in an “ice-like” structure. Being alive requires not just the right chemicals but the right chemical structure. Cells normally have a preference for potassium over sodium but when a cell is damaged it begins to prefer sodium. This craving results in a damaged ability of cells to repair themselves and to utilize energy. Further, damaged cells produce toxins; around tumors are zones of “wounded” but still non-malignant tissue, swollen with salt and water.

    Gerson believed it axiomatic that cancer could not exist in normal metabolism. He pointed to the fact that scientists often had to damage an animal’s thyroid and adrenals just to get a transplanted tumor to “take.” He directed his efforts toward creating normal metabolism in the tissue surrounding a tumor.

    It is the liver and small bowel which neutralize the most common tissue toxins: polyamines, ammonia, toxic-bound nitrogen and electrophiles. These detoxification systems are probably enhanced by the coffee enema. Physiological Chemistry and Physics has stated that “caffeine enemas cause dilation of bile ducts, which facilitates excretion of toxic cancer breakdown products by the liver and dialysis of toxic products across the colonic wall.”

    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.

    Since the enema is generally held for 15 minutes, and all the blood in the body passes through the liver every three minutes, “these enemas represent a form of dialysis of blood across the gut wall” (Healing Newsletter, #13, May-June, 1986).

    Prejudice against coffee enemas continues, however. Although this data was made available to Office of Technology Assessment it was largely ignored in their box on the procedure. They dismissively state “there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that coffee enemas detoxify the blood or liver.”

    1. Chris says:

      “Any doctor should know that this procedure was in the prestigious Merck Manual until 1972.”

      So? Why would you believe a book written by “Big Pharma”? And why is it no longer there.

      And for the rest: Citation needed.

      Just post the PubMed article showing the coffee enema is both safe and does something. Because, really, it would be nice to know what it does! Other than put strain on the liver, and ruin good coffee.

    2. weing says:

      What does it mean to detoxify the blood or the liver? How do you know they are detoxified or not?

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      All of this is based on a profound misunderstanding of cancer. Cancer is caused by undifferentiated cell division due to disordered genomes. You need to do something that fixes the genome (to date, we haven’t found anything to do this), alerts the immune system to these rogue cells (which we’re working on), selectively kills quickly dividing cells (chemo and radiation therapy) or simply remove it (surgery for solid tumors, sadly we don’t have anything for blood cancers).

      Assuming “toxins” cause cancer, you coffee enemas would at best prevent future cancers (which it doesn’t, it’s nonsense). They would do nothing to cure cancers because they do not address the disordered genome of a rapidly-dividing cancer.

  48. Jaaneman says:

    Hope you skeptics will read this … I have just returned from visiting the Gerson Clinic in Mexico (just over the US border …. for those of you who don’t know … it is illegal to cure Cancer unless the Pharmaceuticals are involved with drugs such as Chemo and Radiation)
    In 1981- writing in Medical Hypotheses (2) Mark F. McCarty pointed out that “At a Senate Select Subcommittee hearing on Cancer research in 1946 (3), five independent M.D’s who had had personal experience with patients treated by GERSON, submitted letters indicating that they had been surprised and encouraged by the results they had seen, and urged a widespread TRIAL of the COFFEE ENEMA PROTOCOL … one of the Doctors claimed that relief of severe pain was achieved in about 90% of cases.
    The Coffee enema has a very SPECIFIC PURPOSE – LOWERING SERUM TOXINS.
    As mentioned earlier i was visiting a friend in the Gerson Clinic (colon cancer) and met several other people with severe terminal cancers – one of whom showed me his SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN blood analysis over the past 8 months …. the tumor he had (prostrate) decreased and his blood counts too …
    Pls YOUTUBE – COFFEE ENEMAS – CHARLOTTE GERSON (yes Dr. Gerson’s daughter who is 91 years old …)
    Do your research and stop being so anal (excuse the pun!!) yourselves about what is natural and even if administered rectally … how else does one cleanse the colon?? Plus the Colon is where 80% of your nutrients are absorbed to your blood …
    Go attend a Gerson Workshop – it could save lives of those you love or save your own life too … now statistics show (WHO) that 1 out of 2 people GLOBALLY will get Cancer one time in their lives … OF COURSE the pharmaceutical industry talk about Gerson as a “quack” when CANCER rakes in 160 BILLION $ a year (duh!!) … and did you know Chemo is what ends up killing the patient and not the cancer …

    1. Chris says:

      “it is illegal to cure Cancer unless the Pharmaceuticals are involved with drugs such as Chemo and Radiation)”

      Citation needed.

      “Medical Hypotheses”

      Get a dictionary. Look up the word “hypotheses.” Read it.

      My sincerest sympathies to your friend. I hope he does not suffer much, especially with the enemas.

    2. weing says:

      “it is illegal to cure Cancer unless the Pharmaceuticals are involved with drugs such as Chemo and Radiation)”

      I never knew it was illegal to cure cancer with surgery. I never knew that radiation was a drug. I never knew that caffeine was not a drug. Wow! I am learning a lot. Thank you.

      “how else does one cleanse the colon??”

      Lemme guess. By taking a dump?

      “Plus the Colon is where 80% of your nutrients are absorbed to your blood”

      Where did you ever get all that crap?

      And the Gerson Clinic is giving these enemas for free? Wow. How altruistic of them.

      1. Chris says:

        “Lemme guess. By taking a dump?”

        Vastly assisted by a four liter container with electrolytes and “PEG-3350″ (which seems to be a laxative) sitting on my kitchen counter, that I will fill with water and consume over a 24 hour period. This will be in preparation for the *&^%$#! colonoscopy later this week.

        Well, at least it is one way to catch colon cancer early. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

        I just finished reading Gulp! by Mary Roach. It was very interesting, including the stuff about the colon. With a footnote on the dangers of hot coffee enemas! Oh, and how in 1977 a colonoscopy in France literally exploded due the previous type of laxative. Fortunately things have changed.

        1. Chris says:

          Oh, and I forgot to mention: the book, Gulp!, noted that not much is absorbed in the colon. That happens all through the rest of the intestines, especially the twenty feet or so of the small intestines.

      2. windriven says:

        “And the Gerson Clinic is giving these enemas for free?”

        Free! I guess he doesn’t have the green and white twin-tailed mermaid hanging in the window, does he?

        “Where did you ever get all that crap?”

        My guess is a lifetime of coffee enemas :-)

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The question, as always, is “if it’s so effective, why hasn’t it been demonstrated in the peer-reviewed literature?”

      Also, let’s assume that “toxins” indeed cause cancer in the pancreas. How will coffee enemas help once you’ve actually got cancer? There is a theoretical possibility that removing toxins from the pancreas could prevent the genetic changes that lead to cancer. But once the cancer is established, once the genetic changes have occurred, how will removing toxins help? If you are correct that coffee enemas can prevent cancer – you would only be preventing future cancers. Current cancers wouldn’t be affected by this, because their genome is already disordered. It’s like unloading a gun after you’ve shot someone, and hoping this somehow heals their wounds.

      And even if coffee did all this – it’s much closer to the mouth than the anus, why wouldn’t you be better off just drinking it? It’s what, 40 feet from anus to duodenum where the pancreas releases its enzymes? It’s what, 2 feet from the mouth?

    4. “for those of you who don’t know … it is improbable to cure Cancer with coffee enemas”

      Fixed that for you.

      The idea that a cure is somehow less profitable than a treatment seems to involve a weird understanding of economics. Unless we were talking about a treatment (X) that prolonged someone’s life indefinitely then there is going to be an average profit per person I’m going to get over the course of their…life lets call this $X..

      Now someone invents a cure (Y), one that gets rid of all cancers all the time (and it’s hard to find a ‘natural’ cure that doesn’t explicitly or implicitly tell you that). The great thing is I know exactly what the market value of my drug/treatment/method of putting various foods into uncommon orifices. It’s $X+whatever people are willing to pay for the improvement in their life. Let’s call this $Y. Ceterus paribus Y will always be more profitable than X simply because it’s a cure. It’s going to involve less treatments, less staff to administer, less infrastructure to deliver. On top of that the maker of Y can always charge more than X because it offers more than X.

      So if Gerson was offering this, that’s what he should be charging. He isn’t. Why? The market is clearly there. The money is clearly there. People spend thousands of dollars flying to receive treatments like the “liberation procedure”. Every single person who walked out of Gerson would be a unimpeachable testimonial to his treatment.

      Except he doesn’t do any of that, he doesn’t even directly claim to (although he does seem to imply it). Why?


      I doubt it. If Gerson had a protocol for curing even ONE reasonably identifiable cancer he could still be charging $Y. He could easily start treating people who couldn’t afford $Y by using the money to set up free clinics. He could use his $Y/person to feed hungry people, or support people who do. He could funnel that money into other research into curing other forms of cancer. Any of these seem better uses than just having two podunk clinics.

      Evidence suggests that Gerson makes money the way he does because it’s the ONLY way to make money. His treatment doesn’t work, so you make vague claims that are both strong (cures so many diseases) but non-specific (but it may not be right for you)..

  49. windriven says:

    “putting various foods into uncommon orifices”

    Been hanging out with ER docs, have you? ;-)

  50. Marcos Hardy says:

    Hey, you guys. Are you not tired of all this discussion on coffee enemas and flushing out toxins and miraculous cancer cures? Exorcists say “Vade retro, Satanas!” (Step back, Satan!) that translates to French as “va en arrière, Satan!” and that from now in my mind will always be: “Le café va en derriere, Satan!” Dammit, you all have ruined exorcism for me. I have proposal: Why you all don’t change your discussion to the effects of apricot pits (Laetrile) and Pangamate and Amygdalin in curing cancer, hangnails and dandruff, and praise and discuss the life and achievements of the inventor of these cures, Dr. Krebs, who was no Dr. but got an honorary degree from the now defunct American Christian (what else!) College in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where else!) Dr. Krebs did not cure anything but there are gazillions of people bearing witness to his accomplishments in… making a bundle of greenbacks. Like Gerson and his followers, making money the old fashioned way: cheating gullible Lil’ Abners. Come on guys!

  51. Just Chillin says:

    Wow. A special thanks to the doctors and their respective anti-enema counterparts for all of the positively prime evil mockery (and yes I read all of them) to this holistic approach for a method proven to heal the body. I wasn’t certain before, but now I’m %1000000000000000^10 positive that *most American doctors are not only deceptive but diabolic as well so thanks for that. The fact is that no doctor here will provide even a simple study to show the obvious benefits because 1) They’re not that stupid & 2) BIG Pharma prevails. You may as well be arguing the existence of God to an atheist, as one party will claim they are closer to finding the right answer and vice versa ad infinitum. However, in this instance of enema vs non-enema, a test could actually be carried out. The believer in science could actually make solid their claims! So WHY DON’T THEY? Why all the “it’s unnecessary, rubbish, quackery talk?” Why not just prove us wrong and shut us all up? Hmmm? How many of you are actually sociopaths, raise your hand. Be honest, you’re on an internet forum, therefore anonymous. This is your time to shine and inquiring minds wants to know! One conscious enough might think you all would rather the populace succumb to their illness whilst your pockets remain fat, and the next doomed patient awaits his/her sentence in the waiting room next door. How in the realm of science with their bazillion tests of medicine aimed to ‘help’ somehow deems such tests unnecessary? As for proof, my once happy-go-lucky grandfather lived relatively healthy as in didn’t smoke and ate “normally” i.e. fast food every once in a while. Nevertheless he contracted cancer, was on chemo pills for a year, and died in agonizing pain despite the morphine which could only do so much in his late stages (God bless his soul). The chemo treatment poisoned him and he got progressively weaker towards the end, of course. On the contrary, my mother had several severe ailments; fibroids, cancer, heart problems, etc. And was able to effectively cure all previous conditions practicing the pro-health lifestyle methods others have described on this board to include periodical coffee enemas. Having been aware of my mom’s unforgiving abuse to her body over the years, and the fact that she was able to cure all these, that is PROOF enough for me. Not only that but the liver and other digestive organs do accumulate “toxins” although probably known as cholesterol deposits by you smarty pants, many of which I have expelled from my own bowels and trust me, as a medical amateur, pig, test dummy or whatever you wanna call me, I would not have believed it had I not seen the little green pellets myself. Are you Doctors in fact denying that these harmful deposits exist in the body and accumulate over time? Are you denying the existence of gallbladder stones, liver stones, etc? My guess is that you all are very well aware of them, and would probably prescribe an expensive invasive excision or biopsy, along with expensive medication to the alternative holistic/in-evasive methods. Am I wrong? Shame on you.

    1. weing says:

      “The chemo treatment poisoned him and he got progressively weaker towards the end, of course”
      You got that wrong. The cancer poisoned him when the chemo stopped working. My father got progressively weaker toward the end too. And he never had chemo. He also required morphine and fentanyl for pain control. Pancreatic cancer is like that.

      That’s just the one of your mistakes. There are so many in what you wrote that I could probably write a book, if not more, about them. But as you said. You have proof enough. So, enjoy your coffee enema and delusions of detoxification. I will enjoy my Starbucks in the more conventional manner.

      1. Just Chillin says:

        Chemo is an effective poison which is very stressful on the entire body, to include weakening the immune system so I’m not sure what your point is or why you’re trying to debate this? I don’t think you understood my overall point and you failed to answer any of my questions so I’ll make this one brief: What is a gallbladder stone? What is a liver stone? If these deposits exist, and aren’t toxic then why do doctors recommend removal? Thanks.

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          “Liver stones” are gallstones. This post by Dr. Gorski will answer some of your questions: Doctors do not typically recommend removal of gallstones if they are not causing any symptoms. They need to be removed if they are causing symptoms, because they can cause serious, even life-threatening, complications: severe attacks of pain, obstruction of the bile duct, infection (cholecystitis), pancreatitis, and sometimes they can even erode into the small intestine and cause intestinal obstruction. Gallbladder stones are not “toxic.” They are dangerous because of mechanical factors (blockages).

          1. Just Chillin says:

            Hello and thank you. Unfortunately the link you provided was more ridicule garbage from this site (imagine that) but I appreciate your efforts so I read through it anyway. It’s was kind of ironic how the Dr. referred to people examining their poop as disgusting. Most people think if we saw what surgeons saw everyday we’d be disgusted too. It’s like he completely ignores the benefits. Anyways at least you were honest in admitting that stones have potential to cause severe complications. Laymen probably wouldn’t guess all the precise dangers that you listed, but we can definitely conclude something along the lines of “this stuff sitting in my organs is NOT GOOD.” Emphasis on the not good. So myself and many others find that expelling the stones efficiently and safely at home is the way to go. Homeotherapy and the like aim towards prevention, treatment, and dare I say it, cure all for the low low price of little personal responsibility. How is that so bizarre a concept when they see people dying from artificial medicines? It’s not that all doctors are useless, but if poking through my poo means I can avoid someone poking inside me well then God bless latex cuz I’m taking the poo.

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              “expelling the stones efficiently and safely at home is the way to go.”
              It sure would be the way to go, if you could actually do it. You can’t. Dr. Gorski’s article explained that the objects that are passed with these flushes are NOT gallstones.
              If these liver flushes could remove gallstones, all it would take to prove it is simple, inexpensive before-and-after ultrasounds. And if it was proven, we’d all choose that over surgery. Doctors and patients would welcome the treatment and someone might even win a Nobel prize for the discovery.

              “Homeotherapy and the like aim towards prevention, treatment, and dare I say it, cure all for the low low price of little personal responsibility”
              Prevention is a great idea, but there’s no evidence that homeopathy can prevent anything.

          2. Chris says:

            “Homeotherapy and the like aim towards prevention, treatment, and dare I say it, cure all for the low low price of little personal responsibility”

            Okay, sure, tell this engineer who belongs to the Advanced Engineering Mathematics Club how diluting something over and over makes it stronger. And then how exactly homeopathy is equivalent to shoving coffee up the wrong way.

            Take note that the comment I made to you earlier was in the wee hours of the morning as I was drinking stuff to thorough cleanse by colon. And I have just had a nap after a colonoscopy. So I am a bit sensitive about the thought of shoving anything up there the wrong way.

            In short, when you make a statement: prove it. Prove it with real science not “let me wave these fun words around.”

          3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            How on earth is homeopathy “natural”? Last I checked, there were no parts of nature that systematically dilutes something in water then whacks it against a Bible.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Yes, chemotherapy is poison. Cancer treatment is a desperate race to kill the cancer slightly faster than the body. If a cancer mass exists, the immune system has already failed to kill it (which makes sense, as it would sense it as “self”), but the real concern is that cancer patients might catch a disease that kills them before the treatment is effective (so get vaccinated).

          There is no “cure” for cancer, which isn’t even a single disease entity (there are different cancer types of each type of tissue in the body, and different types of chemotherapy are used to treat different types of cancer). Curing it is hard, made harder by the fact that cancer will literally evolve to circumvent the interventions you are using.

          You seem to be substituting certainty and conspiracy for evidence. This suggests that you aren’t interested in learning about the topic, you just want to vent. That’s fine, but please don’t expect to be taken seriously when your claims are so widely at odds with how the body works. Your self-righteousness is not a substitute for evidence.

    2. Chris says:

      “holistic approach for a method proven to heal the body”

      How is shoving coffee up the wrong end “holistic”?

      And please post the PubMed indexed citations showing that shoving coffee up the wrong way is “proven to heal the body.”

      1. Just Chillin says:

        Hello Chris. May I call you Dr. Evil? See here’s the thing Dr. Evil, I understand the exclusive club that you health officials subscribe to okay. I get it, you spent a ton of money on 8 years of vigorous study and can finally rip people off because we don’t know what an ear infection is. Treating the symptoms becomes a matter of longevity for your lifestyle vs a one stop heals all shop. I didn’t mean the coffee enema by itself is holistic, just when done in moderation with a healthy lifestyle does tend to bring significant health benefits. My challenge to you would be to get out of the PubMed club because they are preventing you from thinking for yourself. Even if a doctor went rebel and decided to actually test and post his findings on the pros and cons of coffee enemas via PubMed, I’m sure he’d get mocked all the way out of his license, regardless his findings…kind of similar to how you all are reacting to Dr. Gerson’s discoveries.

        1. Chris says:

          “May I call you Dr. Evil?”

          Absolutely not. Especially since I only have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. So I need evidence that shoving perfectly good coffee up the wrong way is either “holistic” or “healing.”

          And if you do not like the medical literature literature indexed at PubMed, may I suggest that you avoid all buildings and bridges that have been built with the “structural analysis” club that used Newtonian physics and building codes.

          Obviously a “rebel” like you will only want to occupy a building built on fairy wishes.

          Now provide real scientific evidence that shoving coffee the wrong way around does anything good.

        2. weing says:

          “My challenge to you would be to get out of the PubMed club because they are preventing you from thinking for yourself. ”

          Right. And you are clearly doing such a great job of thinking for yourself. You’ve become a paragon of wisdom. And without all that unnecessary schoolin.

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Can I call you “ignorant and arrogant”? Do you even know that coffee enemas as cancer treatment were tested, and failed, with patients dying faster and in greater misery than those in conventional care? You seem to think that “thinking for yourself” is somehow sufficient to cure cancer – it’s not. The body is complex. Hugely so. Your cartoonish understanding of the body completely papers over that complexity in favour of claims you believe without evidence. The reason why coffee enemas are criticized is because they are marketed directly to credulous, often ignorant laypersons, as cure-alls without any evidence. I assure you, doctors and the medical system do change their minds, with appropriate evidence. What you are asking for here is a chance to completely discard centuries of carefully-accumulated evidence and learning in favour of something you read on the internet once.

      2. weing says:

        “How is shoving coffee up the wrong end “holistic”?”
        Well. You stick the tube in the “hole”. That’s what makes it “holistic”. Geesh. Do I have to splain everything?

        1. Chris says:

          So the tube, an endoscope, that was in my colon this morning was “holistic”? Cool!

          I was up in the wee hours this morning drinking terrible stuff to clean me out, and then went to get checked out. After a nap, I had a snack with some coffee going down the proper way.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Doctor’s won’t provide a study to show that coffee enemas work because they don’t work. Plus, it has been studied, and patients died faster, and in more misery than their conventionally-treated counterparts.

      If you’re pooping out fat (cholesterol), then you’ve got a serious problem. You should see a doctor.

      Look, nothing we say will ever convince you. You’ve hermetically sealed you off from criticism and clearly have no appreciation for the complexity of the body. I’m sorry about your grandfather, but cancer killed him, not chemotherapy. There is currently no cure for pancreatic cancer, and developing it is, to a certain extent, purely random. We simply aren’t meant to live forever, and we don’t.

  52. pmoran2013 says:

    Dr Gerson can be judged by his published “best cases”, which I personally have looked at closely, and as dispassionately as I can. He clearly believed in what he was doing, but he had a poor understanding of cancer, and he claimed success from a lot of very dubious cases.

    I am sure this will not change what you think, but this is part of why we think the way we do about his claims. We can do no more.

  53. Woo Fighter says:

    And don’t forget that real. legitimate scientific studies of Dr. Gonzalez’s patients for pancreatic cancer showed they had a worse outcome than patients under standard-of-care.

    Gonzalez uses essentially the same “protocol” as Gerson.

  54. Okay says:

    Eric Cartman and Randy Marsh . . . Thanks for the great laugh. You made my day.

  55. Jo says:

    Ludicrous, absurd, ridiculous, farcical, laughable, hilarious, risible, preposterous, foolish, mad, insane, idiotic, stupid, inane, silly, asinine, nonsensical, crazy…..did I leave any out?

    1. Windy says:

      Credulous, quack-happy, delusional and frankly stupid come to mind. Phftftftf.

  56. Michele says:

    Windy…a befitting name….sounds like you have a lot of
    BS blowing out of your mouth. Do us all a favor and clamp

  57. camjinks says:

    it seems a lot of the retorts of the skeptics of this article heavily involve the playing up of the fact that the act involves the insertion of coffee up the anus, and it is almost insinuated that the hilarity of the act itself decreases the validity of it actually having health benefits. Im just sayin is all.

    1. Chris says:

      It is not the “hilarity”, it is the lack of data for it actually doing anything and going against the biology.

  58. Woo Fighter says:

    So show us some validity of proof there are “health benefits.” I’m just sayin’, is all.

  59. Woo Fighter says:


    Are you the same Michele of “black salve” fame who has posted hundreds of comments on Josephine Jones’s blog? The same paranoid, delusional Michele who will believe anything she finds on the internet except what real doctors and researchers have to say?

    1. Michele says:

      Sorry to disappoint you Woo Fighter…never heard of JJ’s blog. Now go back in your bat cave and sleep on that.

  60. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    it seems a lot of the retorts of the skeptics of this article heavily involve the playing up of the fact that the act involves the insertion of coffee up the anus, and it is almost insinuated that the hilarity of the act itself decreases the validity of it actually having health benefits. Im just sayin is all.

    Actually, it’s the complete lack of demonstrated health benefits that decreases the validity of the act. The fact that people are doing something hilarious in the meantime is probably more of a fringe benefit. It’s more icing on the skeptical cake, which is itself made up of “if it’s so great, why not test it scientifically” (except they did and people died faster, in more pain, compared to usual care).

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