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Coffee and pain.

Coffee is not usually considered a pain reliever in the sense that aspirin and other over-the-counter remedies qualify. Nor would it be considered by physicians as a replacement for more powerful prescription medications such as opiates in instances of severe, almost unbearable pain. And yet, I find it is being used by many unorthodox medical practitioners for their patients -- some even suffering from hopeless cancer -- to make them more comfortable. These practioners avoid the newer synthetic pharmaceuticals which have powerful actions but often undesirable side effects, in favor of gentle, natural medicants which are slower to act but seldom exhibit any serious side effects. In the case of a natural beverage like coffee, there is one other modification in this specific use: Instead of having the patent drink the brew, it is administered by enema.

This casts a new aspect on the old army anecdote of the hospital veteran who advised his roommate: "Be sure and drink your coffee, no matter how bad you think it is. If you don't, they'll give it to you at the other end".

Although it may have its humorous aspects, the use of coffee enemas should not be regarded with levity, or trivial concern by the industry. From a small nucleus in Mexico over a score of years ago, there are now dozens of clinics in the United States, Mexico, and counries all over the world offering such medical regimes for a variety of ailments, to the point where it has achieved the consumption of a respectable poundage of coffee and is still growing.

Consider the sheer volume of usage. A single enema consists of not just one or two cups of brew, but a full quart -- roughly six cups per shot. And this is not a rare or occasional event. Serious users are prescribed an average of four treatments a day, requiring a gallon of beverage utilizing up to a pound of roasted ground per diem. In many cases, the treatment continues for a year or longer. Although total figures are difficult to come by, as these clinics are exempt from government reports and home use is not recorded, total usage of millions of gallons of brew requiring millions of pounds of coffee per annum is not unrealistic.

Clinics that establish and supervise these enema regimes are of two types: Unorthodox medical groups supervised by naturopathic physicians and other professionals; and nutrition clinics who maintain that wellness follows a proper diet of vitamins, minerals and nutritive agents. They maintain ill health is caused by deviation from this diet and can be rectified by a return to their wholesome diet aided by natural remedies including coffee enemas. Specific ailments claimed to be benefitted by such enemas include hepatitis and other liver ailments; arthritis pain and joint and muscle problems; and even cancer where it can be as effective as more powerful agents.

From a text book on naturopathy entitled: "Better Health Through Natural Healing" and subtitled "How to Get Well Without Digs or Surgery" by Dr. Ross Trattler (McGraw Hill, New York, 1985 page 590) are the directions for the preparation of the liquid coffee:

"Prepare a pot of caffeinated coffee (not instant) using a glassware, enamelware or stainless steel container--Use two to four tablespoonfuls of ground coffee to one quart of water. When beverage has cooled to body temperature, inject entire quart. Retain five minutes lying on each side. This removes toxins and opens the bile ducts."

In this text it is recommended for hepatitis (inflammation of the liver due to infection or toxic substances) along with a high protein, lactovegetarian low-fat diet, vitamins and minerals and physio-therapy.

A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine (Cancer Therapy by B.R. Cassilethj, Ph.D et al. 324; 1180-5, April 25, 1991) gave as background: "Cancer treatments without proved efficacy have achieved new levels of popularity, particularly among well-educated patients."

The study compared 78 patients who received treatment at a prominent unorthodox clinic with an equal number of individuals matched according to sex, race, age, diagnosis who were enrolled over a period of three and a half years. The unorthodox treatment consisted of a vegetable diet, vitamins and minerals, self-produced vaccine and coffee enemas four times a day for the three and a half years.

It was concluded: "For this sample of patients and for this particular unorthodox regimen, conventional and unorthodox treatments produced similar results."

The F.D.A, and the American Medical Association do not recognize the merits of coffee enemas -- if any. Some analytical work has been performed indicating a small amount of caffeine is transmitted into the blood stream in this manner. In the opinion of the analyst, it was insufficient to cause the curative properties of the treatment. Analysis of other components of coffee in the blood stream was not performed.

One component of coffee present in the brew about five times more than caffeine is chlorogenic acid, This is an important factor in plant metabolism and is present in many other fruits, beans, nuts, leaves and other tissues. It is quite reactive and responsible for darkening and discoloration of cut fruits and potatoes. Its action in enemas has not been explored, but it could have a physiological effect.

Another unusual coffee component is trigonelline. It was originally named "Coffearine" when first isolated. it is a derivative of niacin and is present in many other seeds. It, too, may have a pharmacological effect in enemas.

There are several hundred different chemicals in coffee aroma. These are present in minute quantities, but with our present sensitivity to chemicals in any concentration, we can make no predictions as to their effects on mucus membranes.

So far, we have no scientific evidence that coffee enemas have any of the curative values for the ailments for which it is applied. We do know that faith is a powerful cure; and if the ailing individual believes he will achieve easement from such a treatment, frequently relief will occur.

Coffee Tosta (roasted coffee) was standard medication in 18th and 19th Century pharmacopeias. In the 20th Century, it was replaced with more synthetic chemical remedies.

If evidence of its value as a health aid can be obtained, it may be reinstated in standard 21st Century medical reference works.
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Title Annotation:use of coffee in naturopathy medicine
Author:Lee, Samuel
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Column
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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