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October 3, 1980

Deaths Related to Coffee Enemas

Author Affiliations

From the Office of the Medical Examiner, King County (Washington), and the Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 1980;244(14):1608-1609. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310140066036

NATUROPATHIC therapies are increasing in popularity in the United States, and many of them rely primarily on alterations in diet. Although diet and nutrition are recognized as important adjuncts in cancer therapy,1 conventional medicine rejects the concept of cancer therapy relying solely on dietary changes, and unlicensed practitioners of such therapy have been discouraged or prevented from practicing in the United States. Although these therapies may be of questionable therapeutic value, they are usually considered harmless.

One regimen that relies primarily on a diet of natural foods combined with the ingestion of mixed potassium salts, Lugol's solution, thyroid extract, niacin, and pancreatin also includes coffee enemas administered as often as every two hours. This therapy has been recommended not only to patients with cancer but also to those with chronic, degenerative diseases. In the last two years we have noted two deaths in which the common factor was the