Spotlight: The Gerson Coffee Enema

coffee bubbles
photo by Salim Fadhley

For a patient taking the full Gerson Therapy, meaning they are consuming 13 juices daily, they will also be receiving 5 coffee enemas every day for the length of the therapy. The idea of coffee enemas as having a therapeutic effect on the human body was not an original one for Gerson; in fact it predates him by decades, while the general notion of colon cleansing predates him by centuries. Nonetheless, his name has become most closely associated with the practice.

Not surprisingly, this aspect of the Gerson Therapy often raises eyebrows, and for good reason. A coffee enema sounds terribly uncomfortable and oddly useless to most sensible people.

What are the details of the Gerson enema?

The Gerson coffee enema is made by boiling 1 cup of organic coffee with a liter of water (distilled or Reverse Osmosis), which is then strained through a fine mesh. This will actually make four full-strength enemas: to prepare one, pour 250 milliliters into a pan and add to that another 750 ml of distilled water. It is then heated to body temperature and ready for application.

The patient is expected to retain the coffee enema for what seems like a superhuman 15 minutes—this way, according to their hypothesis, the liver can detoxify the blood five times.

In the event the patient cannot, for whatever reason, tolerate coffee, other options include the chamomile tea enema, the castor oil treatment, and the castor oil enema.

What is the Purpose?

Proponents claim that coffee enemas can "alleviate symptoms such as depression, confusion, nervous tension" and pain. But more importantly, they claim that in cancer (as well as in other 'degenerative diseases') the liver is both damaged and toxic; the caffeine, theobromine and theophylline in coffee work together to facilitate the removal of these toxins from the liver through the walls of the intestine. This, they claim, clears the liver and allows it to detoxify the body more often than it normally would in an ordinary given day. The more often it is allowed to clear these unidentified 'toxins', the healthier the body will be and the closer it will approach becoming cancer-free.

To that end, they claim coffee enemas have the following primary functions:

It acts as a choleretic
A choleretic is any agent that stimulates the liver to raise its bile output. This helps the liver remove toxic substances with greater efficacy.
It induces a peristalsic effect
Peristalsis is the term given to the waves of involuntary movement (i.e. contraction) along a hollow muscular structure such as a intestine or the esophagus.
The result: Coffee goes up, stimulates bile output, allows the liver to gather up your cancer at a greater clip, and the subsequent involuntary, peristalsic spasms of your intestines will kick the coffee—and your tumors, now in microscopic bits—back out.


Like so many nutritional claims made over the last two centuries by a host of self-proclaimed experts, this one is devoid of any scientific evidence. Gerson proponents tend to point to individual case studies presented over the last several decades as evidence of the efficacy of coffee enemas and the Gerson Therapy in general, yet nothing ever released for publication has undergone the rigorous process of replication and peer review that is the cornerstone of the scientific community.



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