External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Coffee Liver Compress

Kind of substance

Coffee beans, ground

Guiding principle for the application

Coffee liver compresses are applied to support the liver's detoxification performance, also especially in cases where liver disease has already led to disorientation or feelings of being inwardly “misted up”. Patients sleep better after the hot coffee liver application, and afterwards they experience enhanced inner presence, they become more agile and awake. The elimination of urine and stools is stimulated.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Weak liver with insufficient detoxification
  • Fatty liver
  • Disorientation (caused by liver disease)
  • Depression


  • Wrapping cloth made of molleton or wool (size according to the patient’s girth)
  • Another cloth of the same size
  • Inner compress cloth, ca. 20 x 30 cm, plus enough fabric to fold into a pack
  • Place 7 heaped teaspoons of coffee powder (preferably freshly ground) into a heated bowl (so that the paste does not get too cold)
  • Make a paste with a little boiling water and spread it on the compress cloth (approx. 0.5 cm thick), fold the cloth in on all 4 sides and place the side with only one layer on the patient’s liver (right flank) – check the heat with the back of your hand beforehand
  • Place an absorbent layer on top of the compress and then wrap a warm wrapping cloth (molleton or wool) around the patient’s body
  • Place a not-too-hot hot-water bottle on the liver
  • Leave the compress in place for 30–60 minutes, remove the compress, wash off the skin with warm water and dry
  • 30 minutes of post-treatment rest

Works well for some patients
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
As needed, no limits
Other recommended therapies
Yarrow tea to drink
Caution: danger of burns if the compress is too hot

Case example

A 45-year-old female commercial worker has been suffering from deep depression for three years, which had been treated with various psychotropic drugs. In talking with her it became apparent that her depression was heavily affected by her liver. The patient wakes up at night between three and four and then has difficulty falling asleep again. In the morning she is completely shattered, can hardly move, even brushing her teeth is arduous. Her mood only improves a little towards the afternoon or evening. Astrid Sterner prescribes daily compresses made from freshly ground coffee beans, which are stirred into a mash and placed on the liver region. The doctor and patient agree to discontinue all chemical medications and only do these coffee compresses. The depression is overcome after three months. The patient continues to apply a coffee compress whenever she occasionally feels a depression approaching. She says, "It smells so good and is so cozy that it just feels beneficial."
Source: Gesundheit aktiv - das Magazin, Ausgabe:02/2015; AS

Experience has also been gained with several patients suffering from hepatopathy of various origins. The observations included:

  • Improved presence, initially brief then lasting relief from depressive moods
  • Dynamizing
  • Reduced ascites
  • Better results with diuretic therapy
  • Warming of the liver metabolism (unspecific)
  • Collagenic effect
  • Best success to date: bridging an almost year-long wait for a liver transplantation with largely deficient liver function



Red., MGS