How Coffee Enemas and Liver-Gallbladder Flushes Improve Your Health By Stimulating Your Liver To Eliminate Toxins

Over the last 200 years, a host of chemicals have been introduced to our food, air, and water.

Many of these chemicals have not been tested for safety or are assumed to be “safe in low concentrations”—without taking into account the fact that the simultaneous presence of many low-concentration pollutants will have negative effects on human health.

Some chemicals, such as the endocrine disruptors dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have been banned in the United States for years, but persist in the environment and food chains.

Since these chemicals have been associated with a variety of illnesses, a number of detoxification procedures have been developed to help eliminate these substances from the body. 

I routinely recommend these procedures to patients under my care as they embark on a custom care program that also requires intensive nutritional supplementation.

As a result of the body’s repair mechanisms, a patient may develop flu-like symptoms that lead to the release of stored toxins and large amounts of biologically active waste materials.

Procedures such as coffee enemas and liver-gallbladder flushes may help stimulate the liver to rid the body of these waste materials and pollutants.

Coffee Enema Procedure

Enemas have been used for centuries to relieve constipation and improve general health and well-being, appearing in medical writings as far back as ancient Egypt.

More recently, directions for administration of various types of enemas, including coffee enemas, were included in medical and nursing textbooks.

Coffee enemas were mentioned in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, a compendium of orthodox medical treatment, through the Twelfth Edition, published in 1972.

An editor of the Merck Manual, my colleague Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, commented that they were removed primarily because of space considerations.

In a case report in the Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal in December 1866, M.A. Cachot, MD, described successful use of a coffee enema to treat a child dying from an accidental poisoning.

Articles from the late 1800s reported that coffee enemas were helpful in post-operative care.

At a medical meeting in 1896, Dr. W.J. Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, mentioned coffee enemas as a routine part of care for patients after abdominal surgery.

Coffee enemas were listed as a stimulant and as a treatment for shock in medical and nursing textbooks in the early 1900s.

In an extensive 1941 article in Uruguayan Medical, Surgical and Specialization Archives, Dr. Carlos Stajano described immediate improvement in near-terminal patients after coffee enemas, including a patient with cocaine intoxication and a patient with post-operative shock

He elaborated on his extensive experience with coffee enemas in post-operative management and made a plea for their continued use.

Coffee enemas stimulate the liver and gallbladder to increase the flow of bile, aiding the liver in its detoxification efforts.

In support of this, drinking coffee has been shown to cause gallbladder contraction and elevate levels of cholecystokinin, a hormone that stimulates bile flow.

Enemas can also stimulate the liver and gallbladder; in a 1929 paper in the Archives of Internal Medicine, investigators at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York reported that rectal installations of several different liquids caused an increase of bile flow from the liver.

Some physicians claim that coffee enemas are dangerous, based on case reports of patients who reportedly developed electrolyte imbalances or infections after coffee enemas.

Close review of these cases shows that the patients in question were seriously, even terminally ill, and that the infections or electrolyte disturbances blamed on the coffee enemas could have come about simply because of the patients’ underlying diseases.

Only a few such cases have been reported; to put this in perspective, every year in the United States, thousands of people die from the side effects of medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, all available without a prescription.

Dr. Gonzalez and I have instructed thousands of patients to perform coffee enemas and none have had any significant problems from them.

However, we always recommend that coffee enemas only be done after consultation with a qualified medical professional.

Read more about how to perform a coffee enema here.

Liver-Gallbladder Flush

The liver is the primary detoxification organ in the body, and many of the wastes it processes are eliminated in bile, which travels from the liver through the bile duct to the small intestine.

In addition, bile contains bile salts, necessary for the digestion of fat.

The Primary Detoxification Organs In The Body

The Primary Detoxification Organs In The Body

Bile is stored in the gallbladder, an organ connected to the bile duct in between the liver and the small intestine; when a fatty meal is eaten, the stomach and intestine send a signal to the gallbladder to contract, expelling bile into the intestinal tract to aid in digestion.

Stones or sludge can form within the gallbladder, which may then block the opening through which bile flows.

This can cause nausea and abdominal pain after eating a fatty meal, as the gallbladder tries unsuccessfully to squeeze out its contents.

Gallstones can also travel into the bile duct and become stuck–leading to infection–or migrate into the pancreatic duct (which connects to the bile duct) and cause acute pancreatitis.

Either of these conditions can be life-threatening.

The most common treatment for gallstones is removal of the gallbladder; 750,000 Americans undergo this operation each year.

The liver-gallbladder flush is an old technique to help stimulate and cleanse the bile ducts and gallbladder, and relieve the nausea and abdominal pain experienced by patients with symptomatic gallstones.

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The Liver-Gallbladder Flush

Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Cascara Sagrada, Garlic/Castile Enemas

There are several variations, but all include drinking oil, usually olive oil, which induces vigorous contractions of the gallbladder.

Typically, round green objects pass in the stool the next day, traditionally believed to be passed gallstones.

However, in a letter to the journal Lancet, doctors in New Zealand reported that chemical examination of such objects brought in by a patient after a liver-gallbladder flush revealed that the “stones” were most likely created from the olive oil that she drank to do the procedure.

The authors claim that this proves the procedure does not work, but identifying the green objects that passed in this individual patient as olive oil derivatives does not answer the question of whether the procedure can be successful in stimulating stones or sludge to pass or in relieving symptoms from gallstones.

In a small study presented at the 1997 meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group and subsequently described in American Family Physician, Richard L. Garrison, MD, studied the effect of a “traditional home remedy for inducing gallstone expulsion using olive oil, lemon juice, cascara sagrada and garlic/castile enemas” in 6 patients with symptomatic gallstones—which had been confirmed by ultrasound to have cleared the stones.

After completing the liver flush, 5 of 6 patients were asymptomatic for periods ranging from 2 to 27 months.

At least one woman cleared all her stones, but she proceeded with surgery anyway (at the advice of her surgeon).

The investigators concluded that the procedure could potentially eliminate the need for surgery in many patients.

Do Coffee Enemas & Gall-Bladder Flushes Work?

All of my patients report that they feel better as a result of doing these detoxification procedures, and so do I—I have been doing coffee enemas and liver flushes as part of my health maintenance program for years.

But have they been documented to get rid of environmental toxins stored in the body?

Few studies have addressed this question.

However, a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine looked at the efficacy of Ayurvedic cleansing procedures for removal of fat-soluble toxins such as PCBs.

In the study, participants who performed the cleansing procedures (which included ingestion of oil and herbal enemas) showed a substantial decrease in blood levels of PCBs.

I believe both the coffee enema and the liver-gallbladder flush, two procedures that have stood the test of time, are invaluable aids to the liver in its job of detoxifying the body.

However, anyone interested in pursuing these techniques should first consult with a medical practitioner in order to discuss how to apply the appropriate measures to keep you safe during the process.

Here are more resources about liver and gallbladder cleansing:

Dr. Medici

Dr. L. Wilson

Wendy Myers, FDN-P, NC, CHHC

Optimal Health Network