We love our coffee. A lot. But is the coffee enema taking it a step too far? Would you dare try?
Recent studies have found drinking coffee to have preventative and protective health benefits, from reducing the risk of contracting certain antibiotic-resistant infections to lowering risk of heart disease and cancer. But before research showed coffee was a healthy drink, it was long revered for its healthful properties as an enema.
Various forms of enemas and colon hydrotherapy date back to most ancient cultures on Earth, used in helping to cleanse and purify the body for general health and wellbeing to treating more serious ailments. While it's not clear when exactly coffee entered the enema bag, countless people around the world swear by it.
Dr. Max Gerson introduced the coffee enema to cancer therapies in the 1930s based on research that he claimed showed caffeine's ability to stimulate the liver and gall bladder to release excess bile. The gall bladder and liver, along with the intestines, work to eliminate the body's toxins, and Gerson found that the coffee enemas dilated the bile ducts, helping to purge toxins out of the body. This practice was particularly recommended by Gerson for cancer patients to help treat the disease and even to help detoxify the body from harsh cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
Further research supported Gerson's therapy claims, finding noticeable, positive changes to the colon visible with an endoscope. Researchers in the 1980s identified compounds in coffee (kahweol and cafestol palmitate) promote enzymatic activity in the body that also detoxes the bloodstream.
While it's still not exactly clear how the coffee enemas work, Gerson believed that a coffee enema held for 15 minutes would act as a dialysis of blood across the gut wall. Since all of the blood in the body passes through the liver every three minutes, the dilated bile ducts in the liver could pull toxins out of the blood during the process. And countless people use coffee enemas not just for cancer treatment, but as a cleansing method to boost energy, improve health and digestion. Feel like giving it a try? Check out this how-to video.
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Image: Nina Matthews Photography