Nearly died from coffee enema !

I am thankful to one of my present patients who shared this experience with us.

I never believe in ‘aggressive’ and often controversial therapies administered to patients without proper guidance and protocol. I have been coaching a 6 weeks ‘detox’ programme to my clients for the past 10 years for various conditions (auto-immune, depression, anxiety, cancer support, allergies, skin diseases, arthritis etc.) without a single adverse case. Why? This is because the programme is complete for the whole body and it is gentle in action. First of all, it is customized and secondly, it works on all the organs of the body synergistically. As a medical herbalist, I try to remain true to one of the most important tenets of naturopathy – Be gentle with your body and it will heal itself.

A patient related to me how a staff at a health food shop told her that her chronic symptoms (weepy eczema) after taking the various detoxification supplements were due to her body’s toxicity (for 7 years?). What I found was not toxicity but nutrient deficiency.  She recovered after I told her to put more high-quality protein in her diet.

A proper diagnosis and guidance by an experienced professional (check the person’s qualifications as everyone can call themselves a naturopath) are necessary and self-medication is not advisable.

This is an account of one of my patient’s past experiences with a detoxification program conducted by a ‘naturopath’, which recommends “Coffee Enema” as a form of Therapy 

By Rebecca (not her real name) 

In 2005, I was told that I  had a “Leaky Condition” prior to my Coffee Enema days. Hence my health was bad and I was frequently sick and was on MC practically every month. Well-meaning, health-conscious and concerned friends advised me to go through Coffee Enema as a form of therapy. It was guaranteed that after a  few days of fasting, juice diet and the whole detoxification and rejuvenation, my health would change for the better in every way.


 At that time, I was unaware of the gravity of my Leaky Gut Condition and I merrily went about eating all the food I fancied and thought that they were good for me. Little did I know that it is not safe for a person suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome to go through Coffee Enema – monitored or unmonitored.  In fact, any person with some form of health issues should not go through Coffee Enema at all. I want to believe that there are other safer, milder and less aggressive detoxification procedures.  


I was very skinny and I looked very pale and weak throughout the 7-day program as I followed the program religiously. Coffee enema was recommended twice a day. I had insomnia as I reacted badly to caffeine. I had to go on a juice fast and the only source of protein I had was the home-made yogurt.

By day three, I was not myself as I was hit by delirious moments, punctuated by scary moments when I entertained suicidal thoughts. 

After the 8th day, I had gastric flu-like symptoms for 3 days. The medicine given by the doctors did not help me at all. Apparently , had gone into a “coma -like ” stage and my family members had no choice but to send me to the SGH  A & E unit when they found me ” foaming ” on my bed and apparently I was totally dead to the world.  The Doctors were, of course,  shocked when I arrived and immediately went into action 


My family was alerted and was told that I might be reduced to a “vegetable ” in the event that I managed to pull through. I was in the hospital for more than 2 weeks.


Many CT scans , MRI of the brain were ordered. However, there was nothing terribly wrong with me – my organs were intact and I was found to have suffered from a serious case of Electrolyte Imbalance. I was grossly dehydrated, deficient in all minerals especially iron , calcium and potassium. 


I thank God that I survived the whole ordeal having been in a Coma for 54 hours in the A & E unit and having been in the hospital for 18 days.


It took me a while for the whole episode to sink in and in 2015, I went through another round of this particular “detoxification ”  program. This time I was even worse than 2005.  I exhibited the worst symptoms ever  ( perhaps I was 10 years older) and I had aches and pains at my joints and my stomach and abdominal areas. My whole back and spine was in excrutiating pain all the time. As though this is not enough, I was totally unconscious and was again foaming. 


This time my family, without hesitation ,  sent me straight away to the A & E unit of CGH. 

 Again, I  had to go through a whole battery of tests and upon discharge was given a cocktail of medication to address my Electrolyte imbalance and my borderline Thyroid and Diabetes and unhealthy Gut issues with Reflux symptoms. I either suffered from constipation or I found myself purging all the way. The doctors dismissed me as a typical IBS patient and that I also needed Psychiatric help and counselling.   

It had to take the two above-mentioned episodes to convince me that indeed Coffee Enema is not meant for everyone and anyone.

It would be wise to read up on this particular form of therapy and actually look for alternative forms of detoxification programs and therapies which might be safer for some of us.

All of us are made differently – we have to learn to listen to our body and be an informed ” consumer ”



About Sebastian Liew

Matthew Wood, the renowned American herbalist described Sebastian as ‘one of the most unique and talented practitioners of natural healing and herbalism.’ The New Paper (Singapore) called Sebastian Liew 'The Medicine Man'. Indeed, Sebastian is a qualified and registered Medical Herbalist (accredited by the National Herbalists Association of Australia), with a Master's degree in Herbal Medicine from the University of New England, Australia. He is the first medical herbalist in Singapore and is known to popularize phytotherapy (Western herbal medicine), European traditional medicine, and St Hildegard medicine (Germany) in Singapore and probably in Asia. Sebastian has 20 years clinical work experiences and treated numerous patients with different medical conditions from all age groups in his Singapore clinic. Sebastian authored the book, Leaf to Life: The Natural Approach to Slow Down Aging and Living a Healing Life, which set the fundamentals for healthy aging and the prevention or treatment for almost all diseases. Please visit website
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