Biological Basis for Coffee Enemas

A lecture by Gar Hildenbrand, Excerpted from “How the Gerson Therapy Heals,” 1990.

The coffee enema is capable of removing circulating toxins and partial metabolites for one specific reason, and that is that the coffee enema not only dilates bile ducts – which Gerson knew – we now know, from the work of Wattenberg, Sparnins, and Lam at the University of Minnesota, Department of Pathology, Minneapolis, that coffee stimulates an enzyme system in the liver, glutathione-S-transferase, that is capable of removing a vast variety of electrophiles from the bloodstream. Electrophiles are referred to in popular literature as free radicals.

Electrophiles are atomic particles with one or more electrons in unpaired spins. They have an affinity for electrons and they want to get involved where they should not get involved. They are charged particles, and they will damage membranes of cells and they will inflict disturbances in cellular metabolism.

Under the influence of a coffee enema the glutathione-S-transferase enzyme system – part of the ligandine enzyme system that accounts for about 3% of all enzymes in the liver, responsible for removing electrophiles from the blood stream – will be increased in activity from 600%-700% above normal. No materials other than coffee are known to stimulate it as much. That’s why people are known to get a buzz off of a cup of coffee in the morning, and why some people are too grouchy to do anything but read the newspaper until they’ve had their coffee, and why coffee is so effective in clearing heads.

The coffee enema stimulates the glutathione-S-transferase system by 700%. During the time that the coffee enema is being held in the gut, all the blood in the body passes through the liver at least five times. Every three minutes, all the blood in your body passes through your liver. In addition to stimulating the enzyme system, the theobromine, theophylline, and the caffeine in coffee all have physiological effects. Among these are the dilation of blood vessels and bile ducts, the relaxation of smooth muscles, and the increase of bile flow. The palmitates, compounds in the coffee that actually stimulate glutathione-S-transferase, also cause increased bile flow.

In addition to that, the quart of water in your gut stimluates what is called the visceral nervous system. The viscera are the guts. The visceral nervous system is the nervous system that orchestrates what is called peristalsis, the weak force that moves materials through the intestines. The visceral nervous system is stimulated by a quart of water in the gut. Additionally, at least part of that quart of water passes through the wall of the gut and dilutes the hemorrhoidal and then the portal blood which goes into the liver, socks the liver, actually dilutes the bile and causes more readily increased bile flow. Also, the net effect of the coffee enema is to cause a flushing of toxic bile, or bile that has been loaded with toxins by the glutathione-S-transferase system, out of the intestines.

Glutathione-S-transferase shuttles; it’s an enzyme catalyst. It’s out there catching free radicals, like an outfielder on a baseball team, and throwing them to the glutathione molecule of the bile. The glutathione molecule has a branch called the sulfhydryl part that absorbs many electrophiles. It makes them inert in the same way that a clay slough can make atomic waste inert because it has great adsorptive capabilities. What then happens is that these things become bile solutes. The bile solutets in the bile are flushed out of the gallbladder and the liver, and into the duodenum, and peristalsis carries them through the small intestine, through the colon and out the rectum. That is effective dialysis. The coffee enema is the only pharmaceutically effective choleretic in the medical literature that is repeatable many times daily; choleretic, like diuretic. Diuretics cause urination. Choloretics cause bile flow.

The coffee enema is safe and effective when used as a part of this program as our physicians direct. Dr. Peter Lechner at the Landeskrankenhaus of Graz, Austria, has been working for six years now, studying a very modified Gerson Therapy. He has been using the coffee enemas as part of the post-surgical programs of the second surgery department of Landeskrankenhaus. He did some rat experiments in which palmitates were extracted from coffee, the cafestol palmitates, and in which they were seen to increase bile flow in the rats. Lechner became convinced, and wrote in a journal called Aktuelle Ernåhrungsmedizin (Contemporary Nutritional Medicine), 2 Band 15, April 1990, that these palmitic acid salts could be very powerful liver protective drugs if they would be developed by a pharmaceutical corporation.

Until that time, as he said, “We have to continue to administer them in the awkward form of enemas… because patients cannot be expected to consume the therapeutically necessary daily amount of at least one liter of coffee by drinking it, without risking side effects in the upper alimentary tract.” Nothing else works.

In the Second Surgery Department of the Landeskrankenhaus in Graz, Lechner has a bunch of very normal colleagues who are, none of them enthusiastic about alternative therapies. But neither are they willing to argue with scientific fact. This is a six-year-long program. Its findings have been published twice.

So now you have coffee enemas cleansing the blood. What is the coffee enema removing? Ammonia-like products, toxic-bound nitrogen, protein derivatives that are often times charged particles, polyamines, amino acid clumps and complexes.

When I first talked to Regelson, in 1981, he asked me if the coffee enemas had been studied in the filed of Ammoniapathophysiology. I said I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said, “The name Visik, the father of Ammoniapathophysiology. You probably haven’t been taught about it because it is veterinary medicine.” I said, “Oh, enlighten me please.” He said that it was very simple.

Visik proposed and proved that if you antibios feedlot animals, you’ll cut down on the amount of urea-splitting bacteria in their guts, lower their tissue and serum ammonia levels, and they will gain more carcass weight. You can get bigger, stronger, more muscle-loaded feedlot animals for more beef if you give them antibiotics. That is why we give antibiotics to beef.

We could give coffee enemas to animals and have the same effects. That’s why Regelson wanted to know if we had studied this in the field of Ammoniapathhophysiology; that’s where the coffee enemas belong. We are actually altering the level of tissue ammonias; and if it can help cattle to gain carcass weight in a feedlot, eating those ridiculous high-grain diets that cause the bacterial problems in the first place. Cattle are not designed to eat a lot of grain – if that can happen, certainly, coffee enemas, having similar effect in people who are not being subjected to high-grain diets, can improve tissue resistance. And they do.

When you improve the sodium ring around tumors and diseased tissue, the first thing that happens is that tissue gets better drainage and better circulation. And the cells begin to function normally. And when cells begin to function normally, they do what’s normal for cells, they behave like themselves. And that means our tissues are now themselves again. They bring, with normal function, requisite behavior for health, which is resistance to disease, and immunity against extant disease. That’s were tissue immunity comes from, and that’s where tumor immunities come from: the health of normal tissue.

Liver Detoxification with Coffee Enemas

An article by Morton Walker, DPMExcerpted from July 2001 edition of Townsend Newsletter

Kent Gardner, age 46, a taxidermist living in Phoenix, Arizona, discovered that he had only an 8% chance of five-year survival because of cancer of both the esophagus and larynx. Expanding in Mr. Gardner’s throat was a golf-ball-sized malignant tumor that imminently endangered his life.

“I bought the original Gerson Therapy book authored long ago by Max Gerson, M.D., A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases, read it two times in less than 20 days, and asked myself, what do I have to lose? I knew I was dying. The coffee enemas included in this nutritional program were a mental hurdle I had to overcome, but once I experienced one of them, I could feel a difference in the boosting of my health and realized their importance,” Kent Gardner wrote for the Gerson Healing Newsletter.

“After about 1½ months, my throat swelling was way down, and the tumor was dead,” he continues. “Reducing in size weekly, it was rotting in my throat. Frankly, it felt like hell! This thing now rotting produced a constant, horrible smell unlike anything I had ever experienced – even after working for 24 years as a taxidermist!”

“Still doing the Gerson therapy faithfully, about 2-1/2 months later, as I was locking my car to walk into a local hardware store, the dead tumor fluttered [vibrated] for about two seconds, then as I swallowed I felt it break free. I sort of staggered into the store, feeling panicked. I broke into profuse sweating and started losing consciousness. I fell to my knees in a series of convulsions, and I knew I was in trouble,” Mr. Gardner asserts.

“Thinking about this situation later, I realized the tumor had moved into my stomach, where it mixed with digestive juices, producing ammonia poisons and gases. I should have tried to throw it up, but ego about looking foolish, and not being able to think clearly, didn’t allow me to vomit publicly. To this day,” admits Mr. Gardner, “I don’t remember or know how I recouped enough to make it back to my car and then drive home, which was a 20-minute ride. The next five days I was totally bedridden.

“I took three coffee enemas a day; my wife helped me, doing all that was necessary. The tumor’s toxic effects were manifold–headaches, vomiting, bad abdominal cramps, flu-like aches and pains in the joints and muscles, fever, sleeplessness, fast pulse, dry mouth, no appetite, constipation, and many other troubles,” the taxidermist notes. “I was in an awful state!”

“But on the sixth day I felt better and was able to walk around. Because of that experience, I have done my homework and am experientially educated far beyond my IQ, concerning the human body and nutrition,” Kent Gardner says. “All living cells and organisms on this planet need water, food, and air. It is the quality not the quantity that determines perfect health, or disease. You can’t trash and pollute your body and expect to have perfect health. What all of us need are daily coffee enemas, something I do on a regular basis – cancer or not.”

Origins of Coffee Enemas as Gerson Therapy

The much disputed, ridiculed and controversial coffee enemas have an unusual origin in becoming a primary component of the Gerson Therapy.

Certainly enemas are not new; they have been transcribed as part of the Manual of Discipline, recorded 2,000 years ago, comprising one of the books in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, The Essene Gospel of Peace, a third century Aramaic manuscript found in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, strongly advises about the taking of enemas in the following manner:

I tell you truly, the angel of water shall cast out of your body all uncleanness which defiled it without and within. And all unclean and evil-smelling things shall flow out of you, even as the uncleanness of garments washed in water flow away and are lost in the stream of the river. I tell you truly, holy is the angel of water who cleanses all that is unclean and makes all evil-smelling things of a sweet odor… Think not that it is sufficient that the angel of water embrace you outwards only. I tell you truly, the uncleanness within is greater much than the uncleanness without. And he who cleanses himself without, but within remains unclean, is like to tombs that outwards are painted fair, but are within full of all manner of horrible uncleanness and abominations. So I tell you truly, suffer the angel of water to baptize you also within, that you may become free from all your past sins, and that within likewise you may become as pure as the river’s foam sporting in the sunlight…

So the use of enemas for general purposes of detoxification have been ancient in practice. More than likely, however, the use of coffee to increase the effectiveness of treatment and for the reducing of pain probably dates back only to the time of the First World War. A Gerson Therapy exponent, Dr. Jerry Walters, tells the following story about the original administrations of enemas containing the coffee beverage: During World War I, Germany was surrounded by the Allies’ military forces, and many imported materials were short or missing for the German citizens. Among other things, morphine was running very low in supply. Also there was hardly any coffee available to drink. Moreover, pain killers, anesthetics, and other drugs were lacking too. When soldiers were sent back from the front lines, severely wounded, and in need of surgery, there usually was just a bit of anesthesia available – perhaps only enough to get them through the surgical operation.

Upon the anesthesia wearing off, obviously the pain set in for the wounded soldier. In many cases, after the doctors finished operating, they ordered plain water enemas for the patients. But the nurses were desperately looking for something more to help the soldiers deal with their pain. It happened that there was always coffee brewing, available only for the surgeons to drink. They often had to work around the clock, and needed to keep awake by caffeine in the beverage. Sometimes, a little of their black coffee was left over. Apparently, some nurse had the idea that, since the coffee was doing the surgeons good, perhaps it would also help the soldiers. So, the nurses poured a quantity of the leftover coffee into the soldier’s enema buckets. The soldiers receiving coffee enemas reported that such ablutions were doing them some good, and that their pain was much relieved.

These reports coming out of World War I aroused the interest of two researchers, Professor Dr. med. O.A. Meyer, MD, and Professor Dr. med Martin Heubner, MD, at the German University of Geottingen’s College of Medicine. During the 1920s, these two medical professors further examined the effect of caffeine when given rectally to rats. They observed that the caffeinated enemas stimulated the laboratory animals’ bile ducts to open, and the professors then published their findings in the German medical literature.

For some time after learning of this research by Professors Meyer and Heubner, Dr. Max Gerson used a combination of the two drugs, caffeine and potassium citrate, in the form of drops which were added to the enema water. But he found later that a solution simply made by boiling coffee grounds possibly was more effective and much more easily available to everybody who wanted to take coffee enemas. Thus, Dr. Gerson incorporated a program of detoxification using coffee enemas into the Gerson Therapy, and the same procedure remains today.

The Beneficial Action of a Coffee Enema

Enemas made from drip-ground boiled coffee have proven themselves as an advantageous means of restoring a dysfunctional liver. The caffeine drug in coffee administered as an enema definitely detoxifies the liver and is a primary therapeutic approach of the Gerson Therapy. “This treatment should be followed strictly, both in the clinic and later at home, for at least two years…The liver is the main organ for the regeneration of the body’s metabolism for the transformation of food from intake to output,” writes Dr. Gerson.

During a 1985 conference on cancer treatment conducted by the late alternative treatment center specialist Harold Manner, PhD, held at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Manner discussed the internal workings of a coffee enema. He announced to the audience that he learned about these physiological actions from Dr. Max Gerson, who had expounded on the subject at least 30 years before. He then gave Dr. Gerson full credit for developing this liver detoxification technique for the treatment of cancer. The next few paragraphs are paraphrased statements which Dr. Manner offered when he described the body’s cleansing mechanism that occurs from coffee enemas.

While the coffee enema is being retained in the bowel (for an optimum period ranging from 12-15 minutes), all of the body’s blood passes through the liver every 3 minutes. The hemorrhoidal blood vessels dilate from exposure to the caffeine, in turn the liver’s portal veins dilate too. Simultaneously, the bile ducts expand with the blood, the bile flow increases, and the smooth muscles of these internal organs relax. The blood serum and its many components get detoxified as this vital fluid passes through the individual’s caffeinated liver. The quart of water being retained in the bowel stimulates the visceral nervous system promoting peristalsis. So much water delivered through the bowel dilutes the bile, and causes an even greater increase in bile flow. There is a flushing of toxic bile which is further affected by the body’s enzymatic catalyst known to physiologists as glutathione-S-transferase (GST).

The GST is increased in quantity in the small bowel by 700%, which is an excellent physiological effect, because this enzyme quenches free radicals. These quenched radicals leave the liver and gallbladder as bile salts flowing through the duodenum. The bile salts get carried away by peristalsis in the gut, traveling from the small intestine, through the colon, and out the rectum.

In 1990, the Austrian surgeon Peter Lechner, MD, and his colleagues who had been investigating Dr. Gerson’s cancer treatment, discussed the benefits of increasing quantities of glutathione-S-transferase in the gut. Dr. Lechner wrote:

GST binds bilirubin and its glucuronides so that they can be eliminated from the hepatocytes (liver cells).

GST blocks and detoxifies carcinogens which require oxidation or reduction to be activated. Its catalytic function produces a protective effect against many chemical carcinogens.

GST forms a co-valent bond with nearly all highly electrophilic (free radical) substances, which is the precondition of their elimination from the body. The intermediate products of potential liver poisons (hepatotoxic cytostatics) also belong in this category of forming free radical pathology.

Before the above published finding, Dr. Lechner had decided in 1984 that the coffee enema had a very specific purpose: lowering serum toxins. His medical report states, “Coffee enemas have a definite effect on the colon which can be observed with an endoscope. Wattenberg and coworkers were able to prove in 1981 that the palmitic acid found in coffee promotes the activity of [an enzyme] glutathione S-transferase and other ligands by many fold times above the normal. it is this enzyme group which is responsible primarily for the conjugation of free electrophile radicals which the gall bladder will then release.”

Starting in the late 1970s, the laboratory owned and supervised by biochemist Lee W. Wattenberg, PhD, identified two salts of palmitic acid, cafestol palmitate and kahweol palmitate (both present in coffee) as the potent intensifiers of glutathione S-transferase. Such enhancement turns this enzyme into a major detoxification system that catalyzes the binding of a vast variety of electron acceptors (the electrophiles) from the blood stream to the sulfhydryl group of glutathione. Because the reactive ultimate carcinogenic forms of chemicals are electrophiles, the gluathione S-transferase system becomes an important mechanism for cleaning away any existing cancer cells (carcinogenic detoxification).

This detoxifying of cancer cells has been proven innumerable times by experiments on laboratory mice wherein detoxification of the liver increases by 600% and the small bowel detoxifies by 700% when coffee beans are added to the animal’s diet. Analogous results in the mice can be transposed into a similar effect taking place within humans who are using coffee enemas.

Coffee Enemas Cause Excretion of Cancer Breakdown Products

The coffee enema has a very specific purpose in the treatment and reversal of degenerative diseases. As stated by Dr. Peter Lechner, it lowers the quantity of blood serum toxins, literally cleaning the poisons out of fluids nourishing normal cells. Invariably, some small quantity of poisons are contained therein. Each cell is challenged by toxins, oxygen starvation, malnutrition, or traumas which collectively alter the cell’s molecular configuration and cause it to lose its preference for potassium. Sodium competes with potassium for association sites in damaged cells.

Loss of cellular potassium and increase of cellular sodium results in decreased electron flow through the damaged cell, which some biochemists refer to as a macromolecule. This injured macromolecule becomes unattractive to paramagnetic ions and a subsequent disorganization of water molecules may take place. Because bulk phase water, structured in a high-energy state, is the main mechanism controlling cellular water content and purity, any disturbance in water structuring will result in the cell swelling with excess water and extra cellular solutes. Upon the internal environment of the macromolecule not becoming polluted with excess water and extra cellular materials, mitochondrial production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is greatly impaired. The result is that macromolecules cannot produce sufficient energy to repair themselves unless the challenge is removed.

Endogenous serum toxins can be generated within macromolecules by bacteria, and by malignant cells. It’s been observed that surrounding almost any active malignancies are spheres of damaged normal tissue in which water structuring is impaired by the colonic insult of tumor toxins. Energy production and immunity are depressed in these macromolecules which are swollen with excess salt and water. Such damaged tissue possesses a decreased blood circulation because oversized edematous cells crowd together inside the capillaries, arterioles, and lymph ducts.

Teaching that improved blood circulation and tissue integrity would prevent the spread and cause the destruction of malignancies, Max Gerson, MD, held as axiomatic that the cancer could exist in the presence of normal metabolism. Gerson’s favorite example of this fact was that the tissues of healthy laboratory animals receiving transplanted malignant tumors quickly kill those tumors by the process of inflammation which arises in the healthy animal hosts. They defend themselves against such foreign proteins. In order to cause transplanted malignant cells to “take” in the experimental animals, laboratory technicians must first damage the animals’ thyroid and adrenal glands. Of course, Dr. Gerson’s desire was to create a near-normal metabolism in tissues surrounding the patients’ existing malignant tumors.

Enzyme systems in the liver and small bowel are responsible for conversion and neutralization of the four most common tissue toxins, polyamines, ammonia, toxic-bound nitrogen, and electrophiles, all of which can cause cell and membrane damage. Such protective liver and gut enzyme systems are massively increased in their beneficial effects by coffee enemas.

Pain Relief Results from Taking Coffee Enemas

Prior to the reported findings of both Dr. Lee W Wattenbery and Dr. Peter Lechner, medical journalist Mark F. McCall in 1981 worth in the journal, Medical Hypotheses, “At a Senate Select Subcommittee hearing on cancer research in 1946, five independent medical doctors who had had personal experience with patients treated by Dr. Gerson, submitted letters indicating that they had been surprised and encouraged by the results they had seen, and urged a widespread trial of the method [taking coffee enemas].” One of these doctors claimed that “relief of severe pain was achieved in about 90% of cases.”

Observations recorded back in 1946 were true then and remain correct today in the same way. While taking coffee as an enema often evokes astonishment and mirth in persons who don’t usually experience enemas, as well as in those who emphatically prefer to drink their coffee at the nearby Starbucks, these same people would benefit immensely from coffee enemas. They could get rid of their pain and other discomforts, whatever the source, by accepting the value of this detoxification method. From the patient’s point of view, no matter which degenerative disease is causing the symptoms, the coffee enema means relief from general nervous tension, depression, many allergy-related symptoms and most importantly, relief from severe pain.

Coffee Enemas Stimulate Bile Flow

The coffee enema is in a class by itself as a therapeutic agent. In no way does the oral administration of coffee have the same effect as its rectal administration. On the contrary, drinking coffee generally insures reabsorption of toxins. While other agents classed as stimulators of bile (choleretics) do increase bile production from the liver, they hardly enhance any detoxifying by that organ’s enzyme systems. Instead, choleretics do nothing to ensure the passage of bile from the intestines. It’s a physiological fact that bile is normally reabsorbed up to ten times by the body before working its way out of the intestines in feces.

The enzyme-intensifying ability of the coffee enema is unique among choleretics. Because it does not allow reabsorption of toxic bile by the liver across the gut wall, it is an effective means of detoxifying the blood stream through existing enzyme systems in both the liver and small intestines. Inasmuch as clinical practice has taught clinicians utilizing the Gerson Therapy that coffee enemas are well-tolerated by patients when used as frequently as every 4 hours in a 24-hour period, the coffee enema should be categorized in the medical literature as the only non-reabsorbed, effective, repeatable choleretic agent. Such a classification could go far to bring about the healing of pathologies which require quick absorption and no reuse of bile.

Summarizing the Physiological Benefits of Coffee Enemas

Dr. Gerson hypothesized on the physiological actions and effects of coffee enemas and witnessed that his theory proved out as factual benefits.

Introducing a quart of boiled coffee solution into the colon will accomplish the following physiological effects:

  • It dilutes portal blood and, subsequently, the bile.
  • Theophylline and theobromine, major nutraceutical 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 blood serum.
  • The fluid of the enema itself stimulates the visceral nervous system promoting peristalsis and the transit of diluted toxic bile from the duodenum out the rectum.
  • Because the stimulation enema is retained for up to 15 minutes, and because all the blood in the body passes through the liver nearly every 3 minutes, coffee enemas represent a form of dialysis of blood across the gut wall.

Coffee enemas are safe when used within the context of the combined regime of the Gerson Therapy. Dr. Gerson’s stated intention in supplying a sodium restricted, high potassium, high micronutrient diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, was to supply all nutrients, known and unknown, which are necessary for cell respiration and energy production. High potassium, low sodium environments tend to return cell macromolecules to normal configuration states and to improve water structuring and water content. The addition by the farsighted doctor of supplemental potassium salts as acetate, gluconate, and phosphate monobasic to the diet, in which malate is supplied by frequent use of apples, improves the efficiency of the tricarboxylic acid (Kreb’s) cycle in mitochondrial energy production. The Kreb’s cycle is a series of enzyme reactions in which the body uses carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to yield carbon dioxide, water and energy for organ functions.

Animal protein restriction, employed by Dr. Gerson as a temporary aspect of treatment for his degenerative disease patients, was observed even in the late 19th century to aid in the reduction of cellular edema. Administration of high loading doses of thyroid hormone and Lugol’s solution result in multiplication of mitochondria, which have their own DNA and RNA and replicate independently of the cell. Thyroid is known to improve cell oxidation of sugars and therefore ATP production so that cell energy is markedly increased.

These numerous treatment mechanisms, including coffee enemas proposed by Dr. Max Gerson achieve numbers of physiological benefits. They:

  • Reduce blood serum toxins to eliminate chronic challenge to damaged normal cells (macromolecules),
  • Improve cell potassium ion content,
  • Reduce cell sodium content,
  • Reduce cell swelling through improved water structuring,
  • Increase cell mitochondria count and activity,
  • Supply micronutrients necessary for cell energy production and repair.

For a person attempting to cope with any form of chronic or acute illness occurring from some degenerative disease, the achievement of low blood serum toxin levels by the regular administration of coffee enemas is basic to achieving increased cell energy production, enhanced tissue integrity, improved blood circulation, boosted immunity, better tissue repair, and cellular regeneration. All of these advantageous physiological effects have been observed clinically to result from the administration of the combined regime of the Gerson healing program. Unquestionably, taking coffee enemas is among the most vital aspects of the Gerson Therapy.