1. Forget 5-Hour Energy. The original pick-me-up may have come from the nomadic Oromo of Ethiopia, who made energy bars from ground coffee beans and animal fat sometime in the first millennium.
2. Around A.D. 1000, Arab traders brought coffee beans home from Africa and started boiling them into a drink they called qahwa. Translation: “that which prevents sleep.”
3. Fast-forward to the 1930s, when German physician Max Gerson began promoting daily coffee enemas to detoxify the liver, stimulate metabolism, and cure cancers.
4. More recently, Britain’s Prince Charles has raved about coffee enemas, and Amazon.com sells DIY kits.
5. But be warned: The National Cancer Institute says Gerson’s claims are unsupported, and the American Cancer Society cautions that illness and death can result from contaminated coffee enema equipment, depleted electrolytes, and punctured intestinal walls.
6. Have a cup instead. In 2011, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that in a 22-year study of nearly 48,000 men, those drinking six or more cups daily were about 60 percent less likely to die from prostate cancer.
7. A 2008 study at Sweden’s Lund University demonstrated that drinking coffee lowers the risk of breast cancer, at least for women who have a relatively common variant of the gene CYP1A2, which helps to metabolize both estrogen and coffee.
8. But what really grabbed the public’s attention that year was cup size. The same Swedish team found a correlation between women with the genetic variation who drink three or more cups of coffee a day and smaller breasts.
9. Volume may be the least of coffee drinkers’ worries. In 2009, psychologists from the U.K.’s Durham University observed that students who drank three cups daily were three times more likely to hear voices and have out-of-body experiences.