Coffee Enemas


While it is not my intention to imply that coffee enemas are part of a Zero Carb diet, there have been quite a few folks with serious health issues in the Zero Carb community Principia Carnivora who have asked me about them. In the interest of making it easier to share information about this unique therapeutic modality, I have decided to post an article about them that I wrote a number of years ago when I worked for Gar Hildenbrand and his non-profit, the Gerson Research Organization.

I have personally found coffee enemas to be extremely helpful in my own situation and have used them off-and-on for the past 25 years to manage the symptoms I experience from my almost universal intolerance to foods. Now that I have found the Zero Carb way of eating – and identified salicylates and histamines as being largely responsible for most of my food intolerance issues – I expect that I will need coffee enemas less and less in the future.

However, I am incredible appreciative to have found them when I did all those years ago, for – without them – I may well have chosen to leave my physical body a long time ago. They reduced my symptoms enough to make things somewhat bearable…long enough for me to figure out the underlying cause of my symptoms and discover a way of eating that has significantly improved my quality of life. If sharing my knowledge and experience on this subject can help others on their own journey, then so much the better.


Benefits of Coffee Enemas

Coffee enemas were listed in the prestigious Merck Manual for physicians from 1890 until 1977. They were effectively used for pain control in injured soldiers during World War I, before pain medication was available.

Dr. Max Gerson of Germany and later New York used them as part of his diet therapy in the treatment of both tuberculosis and cancer patients beginning in the 1930’s. Gerson found coffee enemas to be indispensable for assisting the body’s own detoxification process, as well as for relieving the severe pain associated with advanced cancer.

Dr. William Donald Kelly of Texas used them to help heal his own pancreatic cancer and then went on to recommend them as part of his diet and enzyme therapy (based on Gerson’s work) for his cancer patients. Kelly’s work is now being carried on my Dr. Nicholas Gonzales of New York who continues to recommend coffee enemas to his cancer patients.

Gar Hildenbrand,  Director of the Gerson Research Organization in San Diego, healed himself of Lupus Erythematosus, a deadly autoimmune illness, over 25 years ago using Gerson’s diet therapy and coffee enemas. He later helped his future wife Christeene to do the same.

Most recently, the gastroenterologist Dr. Hiromi Shinya, the most sought after doctor in Japan and personal physician to the Royal Family as well as Chief of the Endoscopy Unit at Beth Israel Hospital and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, has publicly stated his support for the use of coffee enemas for overall health in his book The Enzyme Factor. All of these doctors and researchers have personally used coffee enemas on a regular basis to help detoxify their bodies and enhance their overall quality of life.

How do coffee enemas work? Firstly, they increase the activity of the Cytochrome P450 enzyme system. This is the enzyme system that helps to detoxify the liver. Secondly, they cause the liver to produce more bile and they cause the bile ducts to open and release this bile into the small intestine. Bile is the substance that carries toxins out of the body. Coffee enemas are traditionally retained in the colon for 15 minutes. All of the blood in the body passes through the liver every 3 minutes, so the blood makes 5 passes through the liver during each coffee enema.

Dr. Gerson prescribed 4-5 coffee enemas per day for the first year as his cancer patients carried out the therapy. If patients experienced a “healing crisis,” they were encouraged to do a coffee enema every 2 hours as needed until the crisis was over. It is important to note that coffee enemas do deplete minerals, especially potassium, and these must be replaced.

Gerson’s answer to this was fresh raw juices. He prescribed two 8 ounce juices for every coffee enema his patients did. So, in addition to doing 4-5 coffee enemas each day, his patients were drinking 12 freshly pressed juices. Most of these juices were made from carrots and leafy greens, but 3 of them were made from raw calf’s liver. However, vegetable juices are not compatible with a Zero Carb (Zero Plant Foods) diet and this need must be met some other way.

As an alternative, I have found that bone broth works pretty well to replace lost minerals. It is important to make sure the bones you use have some meat on them because the potassium is in the meat, not the bones themselves. I frequently use turkey backs, neck, wings, drumsticks, etc. because that is what is easy available and affordable, but any meaty bones will do.

On average, it took between 18 months and 3 years for cancer patients to fully recover using Gerson’s therapy per day. If patients are too far advanced to recover from their illness, the therapy can still be used to lessen their pain and make their transition easier.

When the actor Michael Landon was suffering from late-stage pancreatic cancer, he called the Gerson Research Organization for help and Gar Hildenbrand explained to him how to do a coffee enema. After Landon’s first coffee enema he never experienced any more pain; he was able to die in peace. For more detail please read this article on how coffee enemas work by Gar Hildenbrand.

Johanna Brandt of South Africa cured herself of late-stage stomach cancer using a combination of water fasting and a mono grape diet and wrote about the experience in her book The Grape Cure, as one of their shining stars. Brandt did enemas (not coffee) on a daily basis throughout her recovery period.

Essie Honiball also of South Africa healed herself of tuberculosis by adopting an all-fruit diet and wrote about it in her book I Live on Fruit. She, too, states that she used enemas (not coffee) regularly during her first year on the diet to help her body through the initial detoxification period.

Many people have healed themselves of cancer using the therapies practiced by Dr. Max Gerson, Dr. William Donald Kelly, and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, which all include the daily use of coffee enemas. In 1958, Gerson published his book A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, in which he describes some of his best cases.

Gar Hildenbrand et al published a peer-reviewed retrospective study on the 5-year survival rates of patients doing Gerson’s therapy for the treatment of malignant melanoma at a hospital in Mexico between 1975-1990 with very favorable results. Gonzalez has many of his successful outcomes published on his website under Case Reports.

Gerson was continually evolving his therapy based on the latest research, and I suspect that if he were alive today he would likely prescribe an all-raw diet to his patients. But many of his patients got better in spite of the fact that they consumed mostly cooked foods as well as some dairy products along with the 13 fresh raw juices and four coffee enemas he prescribed every day. Through experience, Gerson found that tumor breakdown is extremely toxic and very difficult for the body to eliminate on its own and in some cases could actually kill the patient. The coffee enemas helped to significantly reduce the burden on the liver as the sick body worked to cleanse itself.

As I stated in the beginning, I have personally used coffee enemas off and on over the past 25 years to help my liver detoxify the components of foods that created inflammation in my body. I have never had any problem resuming normal bowel function when I discontinued them after having used them for long periods of time. As a former research associate with the Gerson Research Organization, I can also report that this is true for everyone I ever interviewed who has done the therapy. Some patients opted to continue using the enemas once a day on a long term basis, simply because they felt better doing so. Others would use them for one month every year in order to give their body a chance to detox accumulated waste. And yet others never used them again once they were well.

In summary, former patients of the Gerson Therapy would continue to use them or not as they felt they needed or benefited from them. Dr. Gerson felt that people got cancer because the function of their liver is compromised in some way, and even after they have successfully healed themselves of cancer their liver may still not function optimally. Thus, coffee enemas can be a valuable aid in preventing a recurrence of the illness, as well as helping the recovered cancer patient maintain a greater sense of well-being.


How to do a Coffee Enema:

Bring 3 tbsp. of ground organic coffee to a boil in 1 quart of filtered water, boil for 5 minutes, reduce the flame, cover, and continue simmering for another 15 minutes, pour through a strainer, throw out coffee grounds, allow coffee to cool to body temperature before using. You should be able to comfortably stick your pinky finger in the coffee. Never put coffee that is too warm inside your rectum, as it may burn the delicate tissue.

Position your enema bag about two feet above the ground. Lay on your back on a towel on the floor. Insert the end of the enema tip into your rectum. Slowly allow as much of the coffee as is comfortable to enter your colon. Then lift your behind up and roll onto you right side, which helps the coffee to get over to your descending colon. Try to retain the coffee up to 15 minutes if possible, repeat procedure with any remaining coffee. When you do coffee enemas on a daily basis, your ability to retain them improves and you can usually do the whole quart at one time. A good way to pass the time is to have a good book to read!

If you are suffering with uncomfortable health issues and think coffee enemas might be of benefit to you, the Gerson Institute on-line store is a good place to order an Enema Bucket w/Catheter. I have no affiliation with them and I make no money of the sale of this product.


18 thoughts on “Coffee Enemas

  1. Very good article! Thank you for boiling the info down so that it is easily read and understood. I am intrigued to try this. Do you have knowledge of anyone with Rheumatoid Arthritis who used this therapy?

    On a side note, I am grateful for your website and have learned a great deal from reading it.


    • I am mostly familiar with coffee enemas being used by cancer patients, but they have been very helpful for both Gar and Christeene Hildenbrand for reversing the damaged caused by Lupus which is also autoimmune.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting website thank you for condensing a lot of information that would otherwise take a lifetime to wade through! I am a Type II Diabetic for 28 years and my Diabetes has evolved into full blown Peripheral Neuropathy. I am currently on a high protein vegetable diet that is controlling my glucose levels but is not doing much for reversing or stopping the Neuropathy. Do you think the Dry Fast and Coffee enemas may work to help me with the Neuropathy?


  3. Dr. Gerson felt that people got cancer because the function of their liver is compromised in some way, and even after they have successfully healed themselves of cancer their liver may still not function optimally.

    He was correct–the liver has trouble with the sugar in our diet (from all sources). This is why people 50 and over tend to automatically fall into “diabetic” territory despite how “well” (being a relative term) they eat. The liver can no longer handle the amount of carbs coming in, but nobody says anything until it’s too late. Suddenly, there’s a BG meter, a diet journal, and a prescription for insulin in their lives. In desperation, frantic searches on Google for reversing diabetes happen, then they stumble into the low-carb communities, then the keto communities, then the zero-carb communities–something that should’ve happened BEFORE one was pronounced “diabetic.” Better late than never, I guess.

    The current conventional diabetes dogma is the compromise of the pancreas and beta cells–sure, that works for Type 1, but for Type 2? For T2, it;s the liver, dumping excess sugar into the bloodstream, driving up blood sugar, and inviting cancer by offering it the food it seeks. So how do we short-circuit this problem? Low carb, keto, or even zero carb diets–it all depends on what level of carbs you liver can now handle (through trial and error using a BG meter–there is no magic test to determine this).

    Why do you suppose exercise is always recommended for cancer survivors? To help burn off the excess blood sugar former victims are STILL getting in the diets…with absolutely no recommendations from their oncologists about reducing total sugar intake (even from fruits and veggies) to keep cancer from recurring. Docs of all kinds only get paid when sick people show up, so how to keep sick people showing up? Continue to let the eat a trash diet loaded with sugar, so it invites (or re-invites) cancer or other diseases.


    • “Docs of all kinds only get paid when sick people show up, so how to keep sick people showing up? Continue to let the eat a trash diet loaded with sugar, so it invites (or re-invites) cancer or other diseases.” — Wenchypoo


      I am a physician and I completely disagree with you. The majority of doctors only want their patients to get well, no matter how misguided their treatment recommendations may actually be. I have never known ANY physician to intentionally give treatment recommendations to purposefully make their patients ill — doctors have enough problems with malpractice lawsuits as it is, there is no point in creating intentional ones! Furthermore, doctors DO get paid when healthy people show up, so please stop propagating this silly nonsense.

      I have always recommended my patients eat a low carb, no sugar diet — eating primarily meat (wild and/or grass-fed if possible), leafy greens and the occasional piece of fruit. Unfortunately, I find that most people want a “quick fix” and refuse to change their diets and lifestyle, no matter how sick the current one is making them. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…


  4. Hey Esmee,

    Do you still do coffee enemas today? If so how frequently do you do them? I have been doing these for over 5 years now and I feel like I have become dependent on them to feel good and move my bowels more completely. I have been zero carb for over 3 months now. I have on multiple occasions tried to go without doing one, and my sense of well being is much lower and bowels don’t move very much. I am not looking for a diagnosis on my situation but rather your experiences with coffee enemas. When did you decide it was time to cut back? Did you feel something that triggered you to stop? Do they affect your digestion, for the better or worse? I would like to not have to do them anymore someday so some feedback on your history with them would be great. Thanks for this website and for the PC FB group!!


    • Hi Eric, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your questions. It’s a complicated subject for me to explain. I have been doing coffee enemas for the better part of 25 years.I’ve gone months and even years without them, but always end up coming back to them when I hit rough patches in my health situation. For most of that time, I had no idea what exactly was wrong with me, but I am now fairly convinced that I Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. There is no known cure for this illness, and avoiding things that trigger my symptoms is about the best I can do. I have discovered that fresh raw beef gives me less symptoms than anything else, but that is still not perfect because fresh can be hard to get. When beef is too old, it is high in histamines which cause very unpleasant symptoms for me.There are only two ways that I found to reduce my symptoms: fasting and coffee enemas. If I had a consistently fresh source of beef with enough fat, I don’t think I would need coffee enemas. However, finances limit my ability to obtain the beef I need to avoid symptoms and I end up turning back to coffee enemas for relief. It’s not ideal, but it keeps me going. I recently went for 3 months without any coffee enemas and was doing fairly well. I have been relying on 80/20 raw ground beef that I can tolerate from a freshness standpoint, but which is not fatty enough to keep my bowels functioning optimally and I was definitely constipated. Then, I acquired a gastrointestinal tract virus which caused both pain and diarrhea and so I returned to coffee enemas for relief. So, its been and up and down, off and on relationship with coffee enemas. I wish I didn’t need them, but I am so thankful that I know about them and can utilize them. I probably would have killed myself long ago with I had not way to reduce the suffering generated by my body’y bizarre reactions to foods and chemicals. If my financial situation improves in the future and I am able to obtain the meat I need, I am confident that I will not need to do coffee enemas on a regular basis. They are not a perfect solution because I experience both positive and negative from them, but the positive outweighs the negative. The biggest issue is electrolyte balance. Coffee enemas deplete both sodium and potassium and its hard to replace them on an all-meat diet. Traditionally, fresh fruit and vegetable juice was used for this purpose, but that is not an option for me. Alternatively, supplemental sodium and potassium can be taken, but unfortunately all supplements and salts I have tried give me terrible migraines. This really complicates things for me, and I have actually been forced to go into the emergency room quite a few times in order to get intravenous sodium and potassium which is a major pain in the patuka! The doctors I have consulted have been unable to come up with any better solution. I hope this description helps you to some extent, though I am not sure how much of my experience is relevant to you.


  5. This is someone who tells all about using Gerson Therapy and coffee enemas (he had melanoma on his heel and his mother BEGGED him to NOT do chemo radiation or surgery, but to do Gerson Therapy – it cured him and here he explains how):

    Jesse Lo – From a Cancer Survivor:Top 3 Things that everyone can do everyday to stay Healthy


  6. Hello. I am sensitive to salicylates and currently doing the salicylates challenge to determine my tolerance level. I was doing one coffee enema per day but stopped because I was worried of the high salicylates content in coffee. Can people with high sensitivity to salicylates still benefit from coffee enemas without creating more problems and overloading their system with more salicylates?


  7. This is my first day on a carniviore diet. I have so many health problems including debilitating migraines accompanied by heavy vomiting (currently once a month, started 12 years ago as one episode a year), gastritis, esophagitis (no coeliac though) loosing weight, discharge from tonsils on a regular basis, but what I wanted to say is that I’ve been doing coffee enemas for 8 years. I have never experienced a greater releif, no analgesic no anti-anxiety pill can ever compare. It helps my liver tremendously, clears my skin, calms me down, and takes the pain away. I hope carnivore diet will resolve many if not all of my health issues but coffee enema is my best friend and it stays with me for the rest of my life. Wishing you all a happy New Year ❤ greetings from Poland.


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