What Is Enema(Clyster)?

What is Enema(Clyster)?:

Enema is to introduce a substance into the rectum in order to empty the bowel or to administer nutrients or drugs.

 The history of Enemas in East and West


·         According to the Ebers Papyrus, of the 14th century B.C, the ancient Egyptians seemed to frequently use the enemas(clyster) to treat many intestinal conditions and in this documentation are Directions for the use of the enema (or clyster), and remedies for many intestinal complaints are mentioned.

·         Hippocrates, the Greek “father of modern medicine,” prescribed water enemas for several conditions about 2,600 years ago.

·         Roman physicians preferred the enema over the use of laxatives. The Romans used the enema for intestinal worms and fevers. The Roman naturalist Pliny said, “The Egyptians learned the art from the long-beaked ibis, who washes his inside of the body by introducing water with his beak into the channel by which the residue of our food should leave.”

·         In India, enemas were recommended for inner cleansing by patanjali, author of the first written work on yoga, in around 200 B.C. and also recorded in Hindu medical texts such as the Susruta Smhita, the work of Susruta, the father of Hindu surgery.

·         The 17th century became known as the “age of the enema”. It was the fashion in Parisian society
to enjoy as many as three or four enemas a day, the popular belief being that an internal washing or “lavement” was essential to well-being. The clyster reached the height of fashion in the early years of the reign of Louis XIV (1638-1715) who, it is reported had over 2,000 enemas during his life

·         In 1932, Dr. W. Kerr Russell wrote a book entitled Colonic Irrigation – “the term irrigation
describes more accurately than the words clyster or enema, the treatment which is administered with the modern apparatus. These methods lavage and thoroughly cleanse the walls, remove abnormal mucus, and also empty the bowel. The tone of the colonic muscle is improved and the blood supply augmented.”

·         Dr. E.G. Waddington in 1940. described the Honsaker Lavagatory as having “a graduated
volume control for regulating the rate of flow into the patient’s rectum, and a directional control for diverting the fluid from the reservoir into the colon and from the colon into the toilet bowl”.

·         Towards the mid-1960’s, the use of colon irrigations and colonic hydrotherapy slowly
dwindled until the early 1970’s when most colon hydrotherapy equipment was removed from hospitals and nursing homes in favor of the colostomy, Fleet enema and prescriptive laxatives

 As listed above, Enema has its long history and even several different names and was
practiced in the different countries and cultures for mainly gastrointestinal conditions and at times other purposes, and still we see people have enema (colonic irrigation or colon cleansing).

 Some of my patients have the regular colonic irrigation by the colon hydrotherapy practitioners, then what is the benefit and what I believe in it? 

As for me, acupuncturist and East Asian medicine physician and I’d like to introduce the idea of colon cleansing in the history of East Asian medicine – I couldn’t find any reference or information of enema of East Asian medicine history.

 Shang han lun(Discussion of Cold-induced Disorders: AD 196-220)) has shown that when the disease goes to the interior, Physician should use the method of xia fa(downward-draining method) as purgatives, laxatives or
cathartics to break up and expel accumulations of heat, cold, or fluids.

 Today, some East Asian physicians tend to use this method for weight-loss treatment,
and the main herbs for the downward-draining ( xia fa ) are: da huang(rhubarb root), mang xiao(mirabilite), fan xie ye(senna leaf), lu hui(aloe vera), huo ma ren(hemp seeds), qian niu zi(pharbitis), gan sui(kan-sui root), ba
dou(croton seed) etc. therefore even the ancient Chinese physicians knew about the importance of cleansing the colon or large intestine to treat the disease or just keep healthy.

 Among many substances for enema, Coffee is the very special one; therefore the Gerson therapy uses the coffee enema as the important tool of detoxification and completes the therapy.

I personally experimented fasting with coffee enema and found very beneficial for low energy and allergy rhinitis and the sense of wellbeing and recommend my patients with various conditions- constipation, IBS, chronic fatigue, skin allergy, adult acnes and chronic disorder.

 Coffee Enema:

 Coffee enema began in Germany towards the end of World War I(1914-1918). The country was blockaded by the Allies and many essential goods-among them, morphine-were not available, yet trainloads of wounded soldiers kept arriving at field hospitals, needing surgery.

The surgeons had barely enough morphine to dull the pain of the operations but none to help patients endure the postsurgical pain; all they could do was to use water enemas. Although, owing to the blockade, coffee was in short supply, there was plenty of it around to help the surgeons stay awake during their long spells of duty.

The nurses desperate to ease their patients’ pain began to pour some of the leftover coffee into the enema buckets. They figured that, since it helped the surgeons (who drank it), the soldiers (who didn’t) would also benefit from it. Indeed, the soldiers reported pain relief.          


·         Organic, medium or light roast drip-grind coffee

·         Filtered, or if from a fluoridated source, distilled water

·         Enema equipment (as for me, the kit with rubber bags from CVS)

·         Vaseline to lubricate about 2 inches of the tube’s tip

·         Total time around 12-15 minutes

·         The best time – the first thing after when you get up

·         The best place – on the bathroom floor

 The standard mixture of one enema consists of 8 ounces of coffee concentrate and 24 ounces of water, total 32 ounces) and should be warmed to body temperature. The best time is in the morning when you get up and eating a small piece of fruit will help the digestive system going.

 Even though It seems easy, You might have the trial and error at the first time or so, however you will find this therapy really soothing and helping your overall condition and also check these website if you want to know more about coffee enema and its benefits and the Gerson therapy for cancer patients. 


Reference : Healing the Gerson Way by Charlotte Gerson with
Beata Bishop

**Hippocrates taught “The least medical intervention is the best!”

Coffee enema introduced here is not the medical treatment to address any kind of disease. If you are the cancer patient or having the medical condition, consult your physician first.