In the 1900s, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of Kellogg's Corn Flakes fame) ran a holistic medical facility utilizing enemas as well as diet and exercise regimens. In the 1917 Journal of American Medicine, Kellogg reported that in over 40,000 cases of gastrointestinal disease, all but 20 were treated successfully with no surgery. Kellogg maintained that 90 percent of the diseases of civilization are due to an improperly functioning colon.
In World War I, when pain medications for wounded soldiers were in short supply, doctors and nurses discovered that coffee retention enemas helped relieve pain.
Why did enemas fall out of favor in recent years? More than likely because we went from preventative medicine to symptomatic. We started seeking a quick fix rather than searching for the cause of the problem. Prescription laxatives and surgical procedures quickly became the preferred means of treatment.
Coffee enemas in particular can be of benefit to the chronically ill, who are often deficient in glutathione, a small protein composed of three amino acids. Glutathione plays a key role in detoxification. The Gerson Institute, an organization dedicated to healing cancer and other degenerative diseases naturally, offers this explanation:
Enzyme systems in the liver and small bowel are responsible for the conversion and neutralization of the most common tissue toxins, polyamines, ammonia, toxin-bound nitrogen and electrophiles, all of which can cause cell and membrane damage.
... the introduction of 32 fluid oz of coffee solution into the colon will dilute portal blood and, subsequently, the bile. Theophylline and theobromine, major constituents of coffee, dilate blood vessels and counter inflammation of the gut. The palmitates of coffee enhance glutathione S-transferase, which is responsible for the removal of many toxic radicals from serum. Finally, the fluid of the enema itself stimulates the visceral nervous system, promoting peristalsis and the transit of diluted toxin bile from the duodenum out of the rectum. Because the stimulating enema is retained for 15 minutes, and because the blood in the body passes through the liver nearly every three minutes, these enemas represent a form of dialysis of the blood across the gut wall.
I recently spoke with a family friend about his health journey. Given three years to live because of a failing liver, he embarked upon the Gerson regimen. Fifteen years later he is strong, working full-time, and enjoying life. Coffee enemas are still a part of his day. He says,
I use only organic coffee and do it twice a day, once when I get up in the morning, and once late afternoon. The enemas cause the liver to open up the bile ducts and release toxins that have been stored there, sometimes for years. Be sure to balance with minerals. I make two juice glasses in the morning, one green—that is, romaine lettuce, 1/2 green pepper, red chard, and Granny Smith apple (to make it taste bearable)—and one carrot and apple juice (about 2-3 carrots and 1/2 Granny Smith apple), and I also take a mineral supplement. I have absolutely no problems with hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, or regularity. It has also helped keep me alive by relieving my liver of toxins on a daily basis. I've been doing it for 15 years. I swear by them.
When the doctors did a colonoscopy last year they said, "Wow, you sure have lots of pockets, but they are all pink and healthy. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."
The following list encompasses some of the things I've learned since incorporating colon cleansing into my regimen.
1. Good supplies are crucial. I like the stainless steel buckets found here. When using additives such as coffee, the silicone hose is optimal. A colon tube is helpful when hemorrhoids are an issue.
2. It takes time to work up to 15 minutes of retention. Initially it will be difficult to hold the water for any length of time because of the high levels of toxicity. A clear-water enema before a retention enema is often a good idea.
3. Lying on the right side is recommended by the Gerson Institute. There is lots of conflicting information about this. The right side makes sense when you consider the descending colon is on the left side.
4. Enemas are an opportunity to connect with the inner workings of your body. The digestive tract comprises the bulk of the immune system. It’s a logical place to focus when detoxing. At one point I passed a strand of fungus that was 15 inches long. That was the point when I realized that microbial warfare is real.
5. Water temperature is crucial. The Gerson Institute recommends a range of 99-103 degrees. Never use water greater than 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Use a foot stool for elimination. Studies have shown that squatting offers a more thorough elimination. The Welles Step is designed specifically for this function.
7. The lighter the roast of coffee, the higher the levels of palmitates. Organic is essential. Fair trade is optimal.
Donna Gates, founder of the Body Ecology Diet, is a strong proponent of enemas. For an excellent article on the subject, click here.
Other possible additives for colon cleansing include:
- Castile soap
- Chamomile tea
- Baking soda/salt
The Gerson Institute offers an excellent handbook titled The Little Enema Book for $5.00. To learn more, click here.