Editor’s note: Don’t run away too quickly. This is one of the best detox interventions around — effective, low cost, and easy. I’m serious. It’s a cornerstone intervention for those in the know, including physicians with some of the most extraordinary patient outcomes (think stage 4 pancreatic cancer). The Merck Manual  included it as a standard procedure until 1972. All you need is a simple kit, organic coffee, a French press, and a bit of coconut oil to, ah, facilitate the way. Get the hang of it and you’ll be in and out (lol) in 20 minutes. You just might flush your allergies, rashes, acne, joint pain, headaches, insomnia, and a zillion other health annoyances down the drain. Bust a gut but keep reading.
By Lea @ MavericKitchen
If you told me a year ago I’d be writing this article, I would have questioned your sanity.
You see, I’ve undergone a bit of a health metamorphosis in the last eighteen months. Despite battling chronic health issues my whole life, I ate and drank with reckless abandon throughout my young adult years.
And I scraped by. Medicated to get through the endless sinus infections, digestive problems, and brain fog. Until one fateful day after the birth of my son, the walls caved in.
I was losing hair in clumps, my joints screamed, my lips were white, and I could barely pick myself off the floor to tend to my darling bouncing boy. Something was very, very wrong.
After a battery of blood tests from my conventional doctor and her office calling to tell me “Everything’s normal. You’re fine!”, I decided to jump the Western medicine ship and look for answers in the functional universe.
It turns out, more than one thing was very wrong. You learn a lot about yourself after spending tens of thousands of dollars on functional lab testing, five integrative practitioners, and supplements not exclusive of pork pancreas and ox bile.
And, my salvation during that journey was writing about it on my teeny-tiny blog, MavericKitchen.
The problem is, when you’re struggling to get out of bed every day while caring for a baby, maintaining a household and a full-time corporate job, diversions like hobby blogging hit the back burner. It has been well over a year since I’ve voiced my journey online.
Then, the visionary goddesses of Fearless Parent offered me the opportunity to unleash my voice upon the web once again. I had to make this count.
Now, I’ve written at least twenty blog posts in my head, waiting for just the right topic to put my reclusion into remission.
I could have written about how through that journey, I learned I suffered from cryptosporidiosis, hypothyroidism, activated Epstein-Barre and a tick-borne disease called Babesia. Or I could have written about my epic breastfeeding saga or my recipe for Pronto Paleo Pizza Packs. But, none felt right for a re-emergence.
No, for my triumphant return to the blogosphere, I chose to write about…
The Coffee Enema
That’s right. My return to the web is all about putting java where the sun don’t shine. I can explain.
You see, one of the naturopaths I worked with suggested that the most effective method of parasite elimination was a mysterious procedure called the coffee enema.
And I thought, I’m sorry. What-what in the butt?
And I resisted. I was the biggest skeptic out there. But a short while ago, I started work with the partner of the too soon departed Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, who was friend and mentor of my client and personal hero, Dr. Kelly Brogan.
What they showed me was that the coffee enema is a thousands-year old procedure that has endless applications for vibrant health. It was even listed in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy  until 1972 as a standard treatment.
After reading multiple case reports of astounding health transformations , I opened my mind and heart to this treatment. And…I experienced no less than a miraculous trajectory in my daily well-being.
And just in case you question my coffee enema commitment, here is the birthday card I received from my hilarious husband this year:
Now if you’re here, you may already be aware of the vast benefits of regular coffee enemas. But in case you need a refresher, here are just some of the documented benefits:
- increased energy and alertness
- stimulation and detoxification of congested bile ducts to support the all-important liver
- parasite and yeast elimination
- removal of gallbladder sludge and stones
Although I was hesitant at first, there is no question in my mind the recent resurgence in my health is in large part due to coffee enemas. However, if you’ve done them yourself, you might agree that they can be… logistically challenging.
From coffee floods in your bathroom to exploding mason jars, there are any number of exasperating entertaining events that can transpire during this process. It epitomizes Murphy’s Law. I know because, I’ve literally experienced all of them.
As an analyst by trade, it’s in my DNA to test and refine any process and I examine all variables in the system. With a sample size of over 150 enemas under my belt, I’ve tested every crack and crevice of this process. My scientific conclusion is there is a vortex of gravity and mishap that surrounds me at all times. But that doesn’t have to hinder you.
So now Fearless Parent readers, I offer you my entire coffee enema troubleshooting blueprint, soup to Chock Full o’Nuts.
WARNING: If you haven’t noticed already, this post is loaded with java jests and poopy puns. Proceed with caution.
During my experimentation, I identified six variables that affect the efficacy and sanity of the procedure. I have vetted these variables with Dr. Brogan, who kindly agreed to fact check this article and keep me honest.
The six variables are:
- Volume – how much liquid you’re instilling. The standard volume of each dose is 1 pint, with two doses recommended per procedure.
- Concentration – the ratio of coffee to water used during brewing. Standard concentration is 2 tablespoons per quart of water.
- Caffeination – the caffeine strength of the coffee used
- Duration – how long you hold each dose of coffee
- Temperature – the temp of the coffee
- Bucket height – this determines the speed with which the coffee enters your colon. 16 inches above your hiney is standard.
Any of these variables may be adjusted in order to achieve an effective procedure. Before I suggest any modifications, I will first give you exact standard preparation instructions as a starting point.
Ingredients and equipment
- Organic coffee
- Filtered water
- Coffee enema filter
- Quart mason jars or half gallon mason jars
- 1 quart or 5 quart glass enema bucket kit
- Rubber colon tube
- Rolling enema hose clamp
- Lubricant of choice
- Beaucoup paper towels
- Witch hazel
- Intimate equipment soap
- Poo-pourri spray
- Squatty Potty
- Non-toxic disinfectant
- A good book / Kindle / e-Reader
Now let’s take a closer look at the recommended ingredients:
COFFEE – There’s a lot of debate on the kind of coffee to use. You have a choice of blonde roast, dark roast or rump roast. (Sorry, it was too easy!) Different enema equipment websites insist that blonde roast beans with maximum caffeine are best.
However a study by Molecular Nutrition & Food Research showed that darker roasts are best as it maximizes the stimulation of glutathione and antioxidant Vitamin E. Dr. Isaacs maintains that the coffee must only be organic to minimize toxins. So, I have been using dark roast Bulletproof Coffee, which carefully controls for mold and mycotoxins.
After going coffee-free on The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol for eight months, I can tell you that when I purchased my first Bulletproof Coffee I had no idea which end I’d be putting it in first. C’est la vie, non?
There’s also debate on whether pre-ground or whole bean is best; I have personally found the same results with either but if you want to err on the side of freshness, buy whole bean and grind fresh just before preparation. Also remember to keep your coffee in the fridge or freezer for maximum potency.
FILTERED WATER – You don’t want to risk putting anything unsavory in your bottom so make sure to use clean water. Berkey Filters are an excellent choice.
COFFEE ENEMA FILTER – You could use a French press or a regular coffee machine and unbleached paper filters to drain the coffee. I don’t own a coffee maker so I use the pot-boiling method, and purchased a sturdy metal coffee filter from Pure Life Enema. It is an extra fine sieve for collecting teeny coffee particles, and I find it nestles perfectly on top of my half-gallon mason jar. Speaking of which…
MASON JAR – I use only glass jars to store the booty brew. I make several days’ worth at a time and store in quart or half-gallon jars in the refrigerator.
ENEMA BUCKET – Although you can use a plastic bag or stainless steel bucket kit, I can’t recommend the glass enema bucket by PureLifeEnema enough. This kit provides the bucket, hanging harness, silicone hose, and a free pack of enema coffee. I don’t like the idea of plastic in general, nor using a bag that I can’t clean the inside of.
A stainless bucket is a healthier option than plastic; however, it does prevent you from seeing how much liquid you’ve instilled with your first dose. Finally, there have been reports of sensitivity to the nickel in stainless steel. The glass bucket is easy to observe and to clean. Do take great care handling it.
Make sure to follow the assembly instructions carefully and wet the bucket port before sliding the enema hose on. This ensures you won’t rip the tube should you need to detach it, like if you, um, forgot to install the tube clamp first. Theoretically, of course.
RUBBER COLON TUBE – The rubber tube from PureEnemaLife is much softer and more comfortable than the standard enema tip. Essential if you have a touchy tushie.
ENEMA HOSE – This attaches to the bucket port and the rubber colon tube, and comes standard with most kits. I use a 5 foot hose, which is the perfect length for me, but find what length works best for you.
ROLLING HOSE CLAMP – Many standard kits come with a snap clamp (not PurEnema’s stainless kit, however), I use a one-handed rolling clamp from Seeking Health. Unless you are an orangutan, the snap clamp can be tricky to open with one hand. I love the rolling clamp because it allows me to position the tube with one hand and easily control the flow with the other.
LUBRICANT – To allow painless passage of the colon tube. What lubricant you use is completely up to you, but I suggest something hypoallergenic and free of chemicals, fragrances or flavors. My lube of choice is the Aloe Vera Gelé by Desert Harvest. Sorry folks, no Passionate Pineapple Slip & Slide here. Desert Harvest lubricant is thick, has no artificial ingredients or preservatives, uses 100% organic aloe, and comes in a convenient pump dispenser. (Organic coconut oil works, too)
PAPER TOWELS – Let’s be clear: this process has a messy learning curve, so you’re going to need paper reinforcements.
SQUATTY POTTY – I personally believe every home needs a Squatty Potty for having proper bowel movements; I found mine to come in very handy as a headrest as I am lying on the floor. I placed a waterproof Chux pad and sheet over it as well as a small pillow.
INTIMATE EQUIPMENT SOAP – You DON’T want to use chemically-laden Dial or other sinister suds to clean your equipment. I use an coconut and essential oil-based wash by Lunette, designed for menstrual cups.
POO-POURRI SPRAY – Let’s also be clear: this procedure doesn’t exactly scent your bathroom like a rose garden. Whoever invented the idea of aromatic Poo-Pourri spray could win the Nobel Peace Prize in my book. I use a recipe for homemade poo-poo essential oil blend by ISaveAtoZ.com that helps mitigate odious odors.
NON-TOXIC DISINFECTANT – In the event of a fluid malfunction, you’ll want to clean up right. I use a silver ion-based disinfectant called PureGreen24, which is rated to kill MRSA and other nasties without killing your lungs or brain cells.
How to prepare enema coffee
- Fill a saucepan with 1 quart of purified or distilled water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per quart.
- Turn heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a boil.
- Turn down the heat and gently simmer for 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat and replace any evaporated water to return to the original amount. This also cools the coffee faster.
- Once the coffee is warm, pour it in a mason jar through the coffee filter. The filter can quickly clog and overflow, so be sure to place the mason jar in a bowl. NOTE: DO NOT pour scalding hot coffee into a room-temperature mason jar. You will instantly learn an unpleasant physics lesson in thermal shock , where rapidly differing temperatures in glass cause critical stress fractures and bathe your kitchen in piping hot Moon Mud. In theory, of course. #totallyexplodedmymasonjar
Prep note: Since I’m lucky if I find matching socks to wear in the morning, I batch prepare my coffee to save time. You can make 4 procedures’ worth (a gallon of water and 8 tablespoons of coffee) and store 2 doses in a half gallon jar in the refrigerator for several days or the freezer. I just warm my Colon Cold Brew and use when lukewarm again!
Administering the coffee enema
- Before doing ANYTHING ELSE, make sure the hose clamp is closed. Leaving that sucker open has resulted in more than one unanticipated flood.
- Fill your clean enema bucket with lukewarm coffee. Too cold, and you may have trouble holding your Caboose Coolatta. Too hot, and you’ll give a new, highly painful meaning to the term “Red Eye”.
- Incidentally, burns from scalding hot coffee during the procedure are the most popular argument against coffee enemas in general. Funny, I wouldn’t expect someone to insert a bottle of Prilosec in their tookus because of common sense; and yet if they did, I wouldn’t imagine AstraZeneca to be found at fault (this time).
- Hang the bucket at least 16 inches above where you’ll be laying; the bathroom doorknob provides the ideal height. You can also lay in the bathtub, but I haven’t found the shower head or tub spout the proper height. Using the harness, I tilt the bucket towards the port and hose so that gravity will pull most of the liquid out of the bucket.
- Lock the bathroom door. If you’re blessed with a family as curious as mine, you will very much regret not locking your door with a glass bucket and bottom full of joe on the other side. Your unwitting family can never unsee such a sight.
- Grab your roll of paper towel and prep the floor. I tear a sheet off to rest the colon tube on in between doses, one to wipe my hands, and a third under my backside just in case.
- Optional: spray homemade Poo-Pourri in your toilet for the pending purge.
- Put a Chux pad and sheet on the floor and over the Squatty Potty (if using).
- Have a book or Kindle ready. You could also turn on some music and light a candle. You might as well get comfortable. I’ve read 8 books in the last 4 months during my doody detoxes. In fact, during my first enema, I watched a video interview about coffee enemas by Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Exec, while using his Bulletproof Coffee! How meta is that?? #someta
- Attach the colon tube to the enema hose. Make sure it’s well attached; having it detach while dispensing your Be-Dunkin’ Brew is a rainshower experience you don’t want.
- Lie down on the floor.
- Lube your backside and about 6 – 10 inches of the colon tube.
- Here’s where the fun begins. Gently and slowly insert the first 6-10 inches of the colon tube into your backside. It must get past two sphincters; you’ll feel a bit of resistance each time. It can feel a little… intimate. You may wish your colon tube had bought you dinner first. But it should in no way feel uncomfortable or painful, or else you may wish to consult a professional. If you have a resistant rear, it helps to take a deep breath and insert the tube on the exhale. To help guide you, you can wrap a rubber band a few inches past the desired length on the tube; this way, you can hold the rubber band and know you’re hitting your mark. Just make sure not to get fluids on the rubber band or it will harbor booty baddies. [Ed. Note: I find it easy to get past the second, uh, sphincter, once the joe is flowing]
- When the tube is in, snap or roll the clamp open to full flow. Depending on the temperature of the coffee, you’ll feel a cooling sensation spread through your abdomen. Continue to make sure the the colon tube is securely attached; I now hold the tube and hose juncture while instilling.
- Watch the liquid line fall as you instill the coffee. Close the clamp when you’ve reached the halfway point.
- VERY slowly remove the tube and place it on a paper towel. And I mean S-L-O-O-O-W. You definitely don’t want to Yerga-Chafe your delicate derriere.
- Hold the liquid as best you can for 10 minutes. If this is too difficult, maintain it for a minimum of 3-4 minutes. I find I often can’t hold the first dose for this long, but can hold the second for the full 10. (If you’re able to have a bowel movement before the enema, do it… it makes it a lot easier to hold the coffee in])
- Get up and dispense your Crappuccino (too much?). Wipe gently with damp toilet paper or the witch hazel, if desired. I keep a spray bottle of water next to the commode for a squeaky clean keister.
- Return to the floor and repeat steps 11 – 16. Expel once again.
- You’re done; that was brisk, baby!
Coffee enema cleanup
- Wash hands THO-ROUGH-LY. You don’t want to touch anything until you’ve scrubbed your mitts.
- Pull the colon tube off the hose over the sink; anywhere else and you’ll get a refreshing Starbucks Shower.
- Clean the colon tube thoroughly. I cleanse it with Lunette wash, then rinse with hydrogen peroxide, then water. Every few weeks I boil the colon tube for 10 minutes for a deep clean.
- Put the colon tube to dry in safe place. Maybe not over your toilet, unless you want your colon tube to take refreshing dive into the porcelain lagoon, ahem.
- Wash and rinse the bucket with the cleanser and hot water. Then, fill the bucket with hot water.
- Hold bucket with one hand as high as you can, open the clamp and let the water and coffee remnants fully drain into the sink.
- Once empty, wipe the bucket dry with fresh paper towel. Store in a safe place where your toddler won’t use it to hold his crayons.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You can lose a lot of fluid during an enema, so I drink a mixture of 8 oz. water with 8 oz. coconut water to replace any lost electrolytes.
Coffee enema troubleshooting
So, throughout these instructions you may have gotten the sense that I’ve encountered a snafu or twenty with this procedure. I’ve given you the exact blueprint for successful enemas that I use daily.
But, you may be encountering entanglements of your own. Below I’ve addressed the other issues I and others have experienced. So, let’s dive into…
I CAN’T HOLD THE ENEMA!
This is the number one (or two, as it were) obstacle that I (and some Fearless friends) have faced with the procedure. Here is where you can begin to experiment with the five variables.
Try reducing the volume of liquid. This was my primary issue; after adjusting all of the other variables, I tried using half of the liquid and I was able to hold it for much longer. Just remember: if you’re reducing the liquid volume, you must have your bucket at 16 inches or higher to ensure gravity will help the liquid flush your bowels.
The coffee ratio may be too strong for you. Try diluting it down to 1 tablespoon coffee per quart of water.
Ideally holding each session at least 3 to 4 minutes. You can also add black strap molasses to the brew while it’s warm, but I haven’t found this to help me personally. The key to efficacy is doing two doses in one session; so even if its two rounds of 4 minutes each, you will still experience benefits..
As previously mentioned, you want to channel Goldilocks with this stuff and find the sweet spot. It’s much harder to hold when super chilly.
Another option is timing. If you’re doing the enema after not having pooped all day, it may be hard to hold. Try doing it right after a bowel movement, or doing a clean water enema first to flush you out. A curious toddler can make this challenging, so I do it the second 30 minutes frees up.
COFFEE ENEMAS MAKE ME JITTERY!
This is common with the first few enemas, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am. To acclimate, I prepared my coffee half-caf for the first few rounds, blending Bulletproof regular and decaffeinated coffee.
THERE IS BLOOD IN MY STOOL!
You may be inserting or removing the tube from your rear too quickly. Even though it is uber-soft, the opening can scratch delicate rectal tissue. If that happens, I suggest giving your bottom a break so that it has time to heal. I use a dab of coconut oil to soothe and assist with healing.
I CAN TASTE COFFEE IN MY MOUTH!
This is also extremely common, where placing odorous substances like coffee or garlic in nether regions (don’t ask) can trigger a flavor sensation. It’s perfectly normal and absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
I SAW A WEIRD-LOOKING [FILL IN THE BLANK] IN MY POOP!
Erm…can’t help you there. I’m not a physician and am unable to identify the sorts of weirdness that can exit one’s body. Please consult your medical professional.
If you’d like to learn more about the mysterious and marvelous coffee enema, here are a few posts I found helpful whilst getting started:
- Coffee Enema: Unmatched for Detoxification by the Healthy Home Economist
- Coffee Enemas: Health Benefits or Buzz? by Jaclyn of The Family That Heals Together
- Bulletproof Coffee Enemas by Ben Greenfield Fitness
- The Ultimate Detox: Coffee Enemas by My Gutsy
At first, I found this process onerous, odious, and odorous. There is coffee in places in my home that I will likely never reach with a scrub brush. And, I seriously questioned whether I had the fartifortitude to forge ahead with my Money Maker Macchiatos.
But now that I have mastered the process, it is a time of day I look forward to. It is a rare 30 minutes that I have to quiet the chatter in my mind and actually read a book. Afterward, I feel energetic and renewed.
I was hesitant to write such an irreverent post on a subject about a procedure people use to save their lives, especially on a blog with very serious subject matter. But after careful thought, I realized that I had neglected to laugh for almost all of 2014.
And laughter is a most powerful elixir.
Therefore, it is my wish that this post has served you well, and helped put the “yuck” in hyuck. By carefully following this blueprint, one day soon, the best part of waking up will be Folger’s in your…ok, I won’t.
What are your biggest challenges with making coffee enemas work? Let us know!
Lea is Head Chef of MavericKitchen, a tasty thinktank where she dishes up thought-provoking ideas about holistic health, positive parenting and slow food for fast families. She is a seasoned digital marketer and doting mother of the monolithic Judgey Bear, her darling deputy in smoking out sneaky toxins in the food we eat and products we use. She resides in the lush gardens of Central New Jersey where she feverishly hunts down elusive farmers markets and pastured egg purveyors.
Please note: I am not a medical professional and I do not play one on TV. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods, supplements or protocols have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
 Bedside procedures. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 9th ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co, Inc; 1956:1747-1748.
 Gonzalez, Nicholas J, and Linda L Isaacs. “The Gonzalez therapy and cancer: A collection of case reports.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine 13.1 (2007): 46.
 Isaacs, Linda L. “Helping the Body Detoxify.”
 Wilson, Lawrence. “Coffee Enemas.” (2011).