If someone said that it was possible to get a magnified version of coffee's caffeine boost and bathroom benefits from ingesting your java a different way, would you try it?
If the answer is yes, consider the coffee enema.
Real talk, coffee enemas aren’t a luxurious spa treatment, but they are prescribed by many naturopaths for detoxification purposes. The idea is that coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants, and using it as a base is potentially more potent than a typical water-based enema.
Naturopaths and holistic medicine practitioners believe that the gut and colon can retain toxicity. The tissue of the colon naturally has folds and crevices, and over time plaque can build up in those creases. Stay with us. Especially without adequate fiber, this can become a serious issue over time and cause chronic constipation. Some also believe that these plaque buildups can contain toxic elements that cause patients lots of grief, including but not limited to fatigue, depression, poor skin tone, insomnia, and a foggy mind.
But some believe a coffee enema could help. They're believed to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme that stimulates bile excretion, in the colon. Glutathione is a key antioxidant in detoxification, so the idea is that the more glutathione the body can produce the easier it is for a natural detox to occur.
How does it work? Like a normal enema, except with coffee. (Never heard of it? Read about it in detail here.) Basically, rectally insert the (cooled!) liquid, hold it for 15 to 20 minutes, and then use the bathroom. The result is a squeaky clean colon that’s free of toxins, with the added bonus of a little extra caffeine and glutathione in your system.
But here’s the thing: There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence out there that coffee enemas are actually that beneficial to your health. There are certainly proponents of the treatment out there who swear by its benefits, but clinicians aren’t convinced. In fact, some doctors believe that the coffee actually aggravates the colons of some coffee enema users, leaving behind blisters and damage in the colon.
There's also the possibility of hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the sodium and electrolytes in the body get dangerously low. Two people have actually died from severe electrolyte imbalances due to using coffee enemas. All in all, the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to the coffee enema—at least until more research is done. We'll keep our coffee in our cups, thanks!
Illustration by Karley Koenig