Treating Cancer with Coffee Enemas

Of all the alternative therapies being offered today the coffee enema is the most controversial.  This method of detoxification, as bizarre-sounding as it may be, is routinely being used in detoxification programs and specifically in the treatment of cancer.

Is there any scientific basis or rationale behind this procedure?  Interestingly enough, there has been some independent scientific work that gives credence to this concept.  In 1981 Dr. Lee Wattenberg and his colleagues were able to show that substances found in coffee (kahweol and cafestol palmitate) promote the activity of a key enzyme system, glutathione S-transferase, above the norm. This system detoxifies the bloodstream and, according to Gar Hildenbrand of the Gerson Institute,” must be regarded as an important mechanism for carcinogen detoxification.”

Manhattan physician, Nicholas J. Gonzalez, and his unorthodox cancer treatments — coffee enemas, huge vitamin doses and much more — have attracted the attention of the National Cancer Institute.  In partnership with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, the institute is sponsoring a five-year, $1.4 million study of the treatment.  Proof of the growing political and economic clout of alternative medicine.

The enema itself is not a new concept in treating disease.  In fact, it has been called “one of the oldest medical procedures still in use today.”  The earliest medical text in existence, the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, (1,500 B.C.) mentions it.  Millennia before, the Pharaoh had a “guardian of the anus,” a special doctor whose purpose was to administer the enema.

But why, of all things, coffee?  Max Gerson, M.D., (1881-1959), founder of the Gerson Therapy, successfully treated many cancer patients with a dietary regimen that included niacin 8-10 times per day.  Coffee beans contain a biologically inactive derivative of niacin, which is then converted to the active form of niacin by ordinary roasting procedures.  Niacin (nicotinic acid, vitamin B-3) produces a dramatic reaction, called the “niacin flush,” when you take a sufficient dose.  While coffee drinkers tend to receive a substantial amount of niacin, drinking coffee is not recommended for cancer patients.

Caffeine enemas cause dilation of bile ducts, which facilitates excretion of toxic cancer breakdown products by the liver and dialysis of toxic products from blood across the colonic wall.  According to Dr. Etienne Callebout, London, England, “If a patient does not attempt to relieve the body of toxins, the chances of recovery may be seriously diminished.”  The coffee enema may be among the only pharmaceutically effective choleretics noted in medical literature that can be safely used many times daily without toxic effects.  As an aside, it’s been purported that coffee enemas are also effective in combating and relieving pain.


“The machines used for colon therapy are illegal unless used during conventional medical treatment. Colon therapy can be dangerous. Illness and even deaths have resulted from contaminated equipment, electrolyte (salt and mineral) imbalance, or perforation (puncture or breakage) of intestinal walls. People with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, severe hemorrhoids, rectal or colon tumors, or recovering from bowel surgery may be at higher risk of bowel injury. People with kidney or heart failure may be more likely to experience fluid overload or electrolyte imbalances. In addition, many substances can be absorbed into the body from the colon walls, which can cause toxic or allergic reactions. Colon therapy can also cause discomfort and cramps. Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care, may have serious health consequences.”


Gonzalez NJ, Isaacs LL: Evaluation of pancreatic proteolytic enzyme treatment of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with nutrition and detoxification support. Nutr Cancer 33 (2): 117-24, 1999. [PUBMED Abstract]

Gonzalez NJ: Pancreatic cancer, proteolytic enzyme therapy and detoxification [excerpts]. Clinical Pearls News November 1999.

Press Releases and Articles regarding Dr. Gonzalez

InTouch - The complete text of an article from August 1999 about the Gonzalez Regimen that appeared in the magazine InTouch, an oncology news magazine that is sent to over 90,000 physicians as well as patients and non-professionals interested in cancer research.

From CNN - Unusual dietary treatment may fight pancreatic cancer.

More Press Releases from Dr. Gonzalez’s Web site, along with his Research Efforts.