What is a coffee enema, why to do them, health benefits, what equipment you need, what coffee and water to use, how to do them, and contraindications.
If you follow me on INSTAGRAM, you may know that weekly coffee enemas are part of my wellness routine. And I get more questions about them than anything else.
Today I’m sharing some coffee enema basics for anyone curious about what a coffee enema is and why you might want to do one.
What is a coffee enema?
A coffee enema involves introducing a mixture of coffee and water into the colon by way of the rectum. The mixture is held in the colon for a period of time and then is released.
Here’s how it works: Your blood moves through your entire body every 7 minutes – through every organ, capillary, and cell. As the caffeinated coffee enters your rectum and colon, it is absorbed through the portal vein and transported to the liver. The caffeine stimulates the liver and gall baldder to push out bile which carries the toxins from your liver into your colon and out of the body with your bowel movement. The goal is to hold the enema for 15 minutes so you get at least two complete cycles of blood flow through the liver.
History of coffee enemas
Enemas have been a popular practice throughout history, and across many cultures and countries. The first mention of enemas was in the earliest medical text known to man: the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, which dates back to 1500 BCE. By the 17th century, “enema jugs” were a fashionable household item. Enemas were so valued that Louis XIV allegedly had over 200 enemas in his last year of life. Enemas were a common practice until the early 1900’s in the United States.
Coffee enemas were used in the United States during World War I, reportedly used as a pain reliever during the war when pain medications were scarce. Coffee enemas were made popular by the Gerson Institute in the 1950’s, when they began using them as part of their protocol to treat cancer. Until 1977, the coffee enema procedure was included in the famous Merck Manual used as a handbook by physicians the world over.
Health benefits of coffee enemas
Why would I want to put coffee there?
The number one reason people use coffee enemas is for detoxifying the liver. According to the Gerson Institute, a coffee enema has the primary purpose of “removing toxins accumulated in the liver and removing free radicals from the bloodstream.”
Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is the master detoxifier of the liver. Coffee contains two palmitic acids (kahweol and cafestol palmitate) and when these are absorbed into the portal vein system (which leads directly to the liver), glutathione is increased by 700%. This enzyme binds with toxins and then the toxins are flushed out through the colon.
Increased Bile Flow/Gallbladder Function
The potent compounds in coffee (including caffeine, theobromine and theophylline) dilate blood vessels and bile ducts and relax smooth muscles, increasing flow of bile. Biliary ducts often get clogged and inflamed when bile isn’t flowing properly. This leads to removal of the gallbladder, a very common surgery in the United States.
Coffee enemas mechanically cleanse the bowels. While this is not the main intention for coffee enemas, every single colon could benefit from removing toxic substances, parasites, bacteria, heavy metals, yeast colonies, and other debris. Constipation is a HUGE problem in the United States, and many folks have reported good results from regular coffee enemas. Colon muscle tone may be improved as the theophylline in coffee absorbs through the colon wall which dilates the blood vessels & increases blood supply to the colon. Increased blood circulation = better colon muscle tone and health.
Improved Digestive Health
Coffee enemas can be helpful with gas, bloating, and digestion issues because of the benefits to the liver and gallbladder, which are both crucial to the digestive process. They also flushes out bacteria, parasites, and fungi, which can keep us from having a healthy gut.
I’m here to tell you, most of us have them. And coffee enemas can be a beneficial tool in parasite cleansing practices. They flush out old debris, impacted fecal matter, and bugs from the colon.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and is one of our elimination/detox pathways. If the body/liver become overburdened with toxins, the body will try to eliminate them through the liver and colon. If these are congested, things will start moving through the skin. Acne, eczema, and psoriasis are often signs of a sluggish liver or congested colon. Coffee enemas help the liver function better and cleanse the colon, leading to clearer skin.
Nervous System Relaxation
Coffee enemas help relax the nervous system, moving us out of fight or flight, possibly due to the stimulation of two important parasympathetic organs, the liver and the large intestine.
Other benefits people have shared with me
- increased energy levels
- better mood
- pain relief
- mental clarity/less brain fog
- less headaches/migraines
Contraindications and safety
As always, this blog post is not medical advice. Please do your own research when it comes to any health practice. Coffee enemas are not for everyone. Not recommended if you are/have:
- pregnant (nursing mamas please use caution as well)
- very young child
- currently undergoing chemotherapy
- bleeding and/or ulceration in the colon tract
- ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- renal/heart/respiratory failure
- acute or ongoing chronic diarrhea until investigated by a physician
- first 6-8 weeks post-surgery (always check with your primary physician)
NOTE: Always check with your primary care physician or practitioner before attempting a coffee enema.
And as with all things, use your common sense. Coffee enema safety checklist:
- avoid coffee enemas if you have any of the above conditions
- make sure all of your enema equipment is clean (I use THIS to clean my enema bucket and tubing)
- allow the coffee to cool down so you don’t burn your bum (ideal temperature 98-102’F) Temperature is a personal preference. Some folks like it a bit cooler and some folks prefer it warmer. I use THIS thermometer.
- pay attention to your body and what it is telling you. Observe how you feel afterwards.
- replace your electrolytes afterwards as coffee enemas can strip minerals as you evacuate. Green juice, liquid mineral drops, bone broth, or good quality sea salt in your water can help replenish.
What type of coffee to use
Use coffee is that is organic and free of mold and pesticides. High palmitic and caffeine content is preferred. Please DO NOT use conventional coffee. You do not want to introduce pesticides and mold into the colon.
There are 3 brands of coffee that I’ve used to coffee enemas:
Purity coffee is an organic, mold free, anti-oxidant rich fresh coffee delivered right to your door. This coffee is rigorously tested for toxins and anti-oxidant levels. Purity Coffee contains more antioxidants than most leading brands. I get the whole beans medium roast called FLOW and grind it as I need it. They also have a darker roast called EASE. This brand is a bit more gentle on the body than some of the gold roast coffees. This is what I recommend to my clients in my wellness clinic.
SA Wilson Gold Roast Coffee is very populra with coffee enema users as it is 48% higher in caffeine and 87% higher in palmitic acid the regular coffee. I do have to say that this coffee is STRONG, and I don’t recommend using it if you are doing multiple coffee enemas a week during a protocol. It can be too much, IMHO. But for weekly/monthly maintenance coffee enemas, this is a great choice.
How much coffee to use
I have seen recommendations of 2-4 tablespoons of coffee per enema. After doing coffee enemas personally for quite some some and using a high caffeine and high palmitic acid coffee, I use 2 tablespoons of coffee per enema, with all 3 brands that I recomend above. Any more feels like too much.
NOTE: 2 tablespoons is the max amount that I personally use, and I have worked up to this amount over time. What most people find helpful is to start with 1 teaspoon of coffee per enema. Once comfortable with that amount, you can increase the amount of coffee by 1 teaspoon each time. ( 2 tablespoons is 6 teaspoons so it can take some time to work up to that amount. )
What type of water to use
Use only clean filtered water. Tap water can be full of chemicals, pesticides, chlorine, fluoride, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals, all things we want to avoid putting up into the colon. Coffee enemas are meant for detoxification so we don’t want to ADD more toxins in.
What equipment to use
There are many types of enema buckets and bags available. I do not recommend using a hot water bottle type enema bag from the drug store as they are often made from chemicals that can leach into your coffee and they are hard to clean and can harbor bacteria inside that you cannot see.
Glass enema buckets are my preferred enema bucket because they do not leach chemicals, are easy to clean, and I can see my enema solution through the glass. They are a bit more high-maintenance as they can break more easily.
Stainless steel enema buckets are a great choice. They are durable, easy to clean, and won’t leach chemicals. I prefer PureLife enema buckets as they are of the highest quality and made in the U.S. – not China.
My favorite non-toxic, portable enema bag is from Happy Bum Co. They are easy to use, easy to clean, and durable. You can check them out HERE.
BPA-Free plastic enema buckets are also available as a budget option, but I hesitate to recommend them as I worry about chemicals leaching out of them. Most of them also come with vinyl tubing which can also leach chemicals. Both of the enema buckets above come with silicone tubing, which I think is a better option.
I also recommend having a fine mesh sieve to strain your coffee as you pour it into your enema bucket.
How often should I do a coffee enema?
It depends on the person.
Most people can benefit from the occasional coffee enema.We live in a toxic world. Never has planet earth been as polluted as it is today. Giving the liver and colon some love can help support our natural detox pathways.
For basic health maintenance to keep elimination pathways open, coffee enemas can be done once per week. This is what I do personally. Once every 2 weeks or once per month can be done as well.
Coffee enemas are often used daily during specific detox protocols to increase detox and to decrease symptoms of detox reactions. They can also be helpful during times of increased exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals, or pharmaceutical interventions to help the body detox. I do them whenever I travel, have medical procedures, or am exposed to mold, fumes, etc.
There are also protocols used for cancer and other acute toxicity issues where folks are doing them multiple times per day. Please consult and knowledgeable practitioner to learn more about this.
How to make the coffee
There are several ways to make your coffee for a coffee enema:
12 minute boil method is often recommended. It involves adding a quart of water filtered water and coffee to a saucepan and simmering it for 12 minutes. Allow to cool and strain before using.
If using this method, I prefer to start with 2 cups of water in my saucepan, simmer for 12 minutes, then add 2 cups of cool water. This way you don’t have to wait as long for it to cool. Always strain and cool before using.
Quick boil method can be used as well. Add a quart of water filtered water and coffee to a saucepan and bring to a boil for a minute or two. Cover with lid and turn off heat. Leave on stovetop to steep and cool until you are ready to use. Strain before using. I often do this first thing in the morning and will use my coffee later in the morning. Ideal temperature is 98 – 102’F. I use THIS thermometer.
French press method involves adding coffee grounds into French press along with a quart of almost boiling water. Allow to cool to safe temperature, strain, and use. I find this to be the easiest way to prep for a coffee enema.
You’ll notice that the coffee I use is lighter than other coffee. That is because it is a gold roast (high caffeine + palmitic acid.)
❤️ newbies…. if you are new to enemas, many people find it helpful to start with a water enema. Simply use 2-4 cups of warm, filtered water (ideally boiled and cooled.) Once you feel comfortable with water enemas, you can move on to a coffee enema.
❤️ empty bowels…. coffee enemas are best done when the colon is empty, so doing one right after a bowel movement is ideal. Doing a quick water enema can be helpful for emptying the bowels, making it easier to hold the coffee enema. (even after doing coffee enemas regularly for a long time, I still do a 5-10 minute water enema before each coffee enema. I find that holding the coffee enema is much easier if I do this.)
❤️ start low and slow…. coffee enemas can be hard to hold at first for people. This is normal. Always start low and slow. Start with 1 teaspoon of coffee in a quart of water. Once you feel comfortable holding that, increase the amount of coffee by 1 teaspoon at a time. The full dose of 2 tablespoons is equal to 6 teaspoons so it may take a while to work up to the full dose. And you may also find that 1 tablespoon is the right amount for YOU.
❤️ don’t forget the lube…. lubing the tip of your enema catheter will make insertion easier and more comfortable. I use coconut oil or ghee cuz that’s what I have at home.
❤️ don’t rush… allow yourself plenty of time and a quiet space to learn to do coffee enemas. Listen to relaxing music, practice deep breathing, read your favorite book.
❤️ slow flow… let the coffee flow very slowly into your body. This allows your colon to adjust to the flow without cramping too much. Having the coffee enema bucket too high above your body may also allow the coffee to flow in too fast. My enema buckets sits on the edge of the tub, which is about 15 inches high. This gives a nice slow, steady gravity flow. Start by putting in just one cup of the coffee and allow your body to adjust to having it in. Then open the clamp and put in a bit more. Work slowly to get the coffee in, pausing in between fills. If you are having a hard time holding just a small amount of coffee, start with just a 1-2 cup coffee enema.
❤️ don’t stress…. you don’t have to do it exactly as I’m instructing you. Find what works for you. Some folks don’t like lying on their side. That’s OK. On the back is fine. Some folks have a hard time holding it in for 12-15 minutes. Do 2 short coffee enemas in a row instead. It’s all just learning.
How to do a coffee enema at home
Step 1: Make the coffee
Make your organic, mold-free coffee and allow it to cool. (see directions above to see different methods)
Step 2: Set up your equipment
The bathroom is the best place to do a coffee enema. You’ll need a spot where the enema bucket can be placed above you – 12- 18 inches is ideal. Grab your enema bucket, tubing, lube for insertion, and a thick towel.
Place a thick towel on the bathroom floor or in the bathtub. Connect the tubing to the enema bucket and make sure the clamp is closed. Lube the tip of the tubing (the catheter tip.)
Again, make sure the clamp on your tubing is closed. Pour the cooled coffee into the enema bucket, using a sieve to strain the coffee ground out. (You don’t want coffee grounds in your enema solution)
Step 3: Prime the tubing
Holding the tubing over the sink, unclamp your tubing briefly and let a bit of coffee run through before you begin so that you get all the air out of the tube.
Place the enema bucket on the edge of the bathtub, on a chair, stool or toilet next wherever you will be laying. NOTE: the enema bucket must be higher than your body in order for the coffee to flow.
Step 4: Get into position and insert tubing
The ideal position for starting a coffee enema is laying on the the left side. Laying flat on your back works as well.
Once you are comfortable on your towel, take a deep breath and gently insert the enema tip into the rectum, about 3 inches in. Again, make sure there is adequate lube.
Step 5: Let the coffee flow
Again, take a deep breath and relax your entire body. Open the clamp and allow the coffee to flow into you. Do this in intervals, closing and opening the clamp, allowing your body to adjust to the coffee flowing in. If you feel cramping, stop the flow and take deep breaths until it passes. If you are having a hard time holding the coffee, it is perfectly fine to do 2 smaller (1-2 cup) enemas back to back instead of one full 4 cup enema.
Once all of the coffee is inside of you, remove the enema tip and gently and slowly roll over to your right side. Breathe, relax, meditate, listen to your favorite podcast. The ideal time to hold the coffee enema is 12-15 minutes.
Step 6: Let it go
Once your time is up, head to the toilet and let all the coffee out. Give yourself time for it all to come out. Keep breathing and relaxing your bowels.
Step 7: Rehydrate and replenish
Replenish electrolytes and rehydrate by drinking bone broth, fresh green juice, or filtered water with electrolyte drops or good quality sea salt. Drink lots of water throughout the day as well.
Step 8: Clean up
Wash enema bucket, tubing, and tip with warm water and soap. I also use THIS to clean my enema equipment. It’s an EPA registered sanitizer and disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs with zero toxic chemicals.
What if I can’t hold it?
❤️ start slowly… aim for 5 minutes, then 7 minutes, then, 10 minutes, until you can hold for full 15 minutes.
❤️ reduce amount of coffee… as stated above, it’s a good idea to start with just 1 teaspoon of coffee per 4 cups of water. Increase amount by 1 teaspoon as you are able to hold for 15 minutes until you reach the full dose (2 tbsp = 6 tsp).
❤️ do a water enema… a quick water enema will clear and hydrate your bowels, making it easier to hold the coffee enema. Simply use 2-4 cups of warm, filtered water (ideally boiled and cooled.) Hold for 5-10 minutes (or longer if desired.)
❤️ adjust water temperature… some people find warmer coffee is easier to hold. Other people prefer it cooler.
❤️ slow fill… allow coffee to flow very slowly and take breaks as you fill by closing the clamp on the tubing. This gives the bowels time to adjust to the fluid amount.
❤️ lower the enema bucket… if the bucket is more than 12-18 inches above your body, the flow may be fast and may make you cramp more, making it harder to retain the coffee.
❤️ add one tablespoon on organic blackstrap molasses to coffee enema… many folks report that this helps them retain the enema longer.
❤️ decrease amount of coffee… if 4 cups is too much to hold, start with 1-2 cups of coffee per enema. Work your way up.
❤️ change positions… changing positions will allow pockets of gas and cramping to adjust and move. Gentle abdominal massage can also be helpful.
❤️ deep breaths… take slow, even deep breaths to relax the body.
❤️ be patient… it may take time for your bowels to adjust to coffee enemas. As stated above, if new to enemas, it’s good to start with water enemas to get your body used to doing them.
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This will be a great resource for me when I’m able after nursing-thank you! Do binders need to be taken before or after a coffee enema? If it’s detoxing the body I would think so but I haven’t really seen them mentioned. Would you mind sharing your favorite binders if so?
Katja Heino says
I take Biotoxin Binder from CellCore. Microbe Formulas (their sister company) has a similar one.
Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge! Would a binder be necessary before or after?
Katja Heino says
Yes, I do take a binder right as I’m doing a coffee enema. It helps to mop up anything that is released.