The safety and effectiveness of self-administered coffee enema: A systematic review of case reports

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Sep 4;99(36):e21998. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000021998.


Background: As the self-administration of coffee enema is being used as a mean of self-care for detoxication in various indications, it is important that evidence-based public health information is provided for effective and safe use. However, the evidence is so far rare. This systematic review was conducted to investigate the safety and effectiveness of self-administered coffee enema in a wide range of use, and to provide evidence about its benefits and risks.

Methods: Relevant studies were retrieved from Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; and also from oriental databases, KoreaMed, Korean Medical Database, Korean Studies Information Service System, National Discovery for Science Leaders, and Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Oriental Medicine Advanced Searching Integrated System, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator. Considering self-administered coffee enema being used in a various indication, study population was not restricted. Any types of published studies that included outcomes of effectiveness and safety of self-administered coffee enema with or without comparators were eligible for this systematic review. Data on biomedical indications, patient-reported outcomes, and adverse events were collected. Descriptive analyses were planned because diverse health conditions and outcome variables did not allow for quantitative synthesis.

Results: Nine case reports that describe adverse events were identified and included in the analysis. Of these, 7 recent ones reported colitis after self-administration, mentioning that the most plausible cause assumed was the coffee fluid itself, which contained numerous chemical substances. Two others reported more critical adverse events. All 9 case reports with acceptable quality of evidence warned against the self-administration of the procedure. No study that reports the effectiveness of coffee enema was found.

Conclusions: Based on the evidences reviewed, this systematic review does not recommend coffee enema self-administration as a complementary and alternative medicine modality that can be adopted as a mean of self-care, given the unsolved issues on its safety and insufficient evidence with regard to the effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Coffee / adverse effects*
  • Enema / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Self Administration


  • Coffee