is no universal agreement as to what "EM" stands for. Most agree that
the "M" means microbes. Some say the "E" means "Efficient" or
"Effective". It is my belief that the "E" means "Earth", and refers to
the fact that the microbes in question are soil-based organisms that
live in the soil, from which they can become airborne when the soil is
juice, sourdough slurry tea, kvass and kefir whey. Add water, sugar
syrup and malt extract. Add some edible clay, a teaspoon per pint,
Cover with cloth and put on a warm, sunny windowsill for three days to
a more complex recipe, read below. This
first recipe includes only known safe micro-organisms from your
below for recipes using microbes harvested from the soil.
In a clear glass jar, combine the following:
cup (8 ounces) of warm tea
from the leaves of an assortment of edible tall
trees (such as oak, maple, hawthorn, sassafras, chestnut.) (Tall trees
will have roots that reach down lower in the soil to bring up trace
minerals lacking in depleted surface soil. Do not use leaves from trees
whose leaves are regularly harvested for their leaves rather than
falling on the ground below the tree, such as tea trees)
mls/1 tablespoon barley malt extract
5 mls/1 teaspoon molasses
15 mls/1 tablespoon of raw honey
wedge of lemon
tablespoon of raw milk
1 tablespoon of
kefir whey (source of lactic acid bacteria)
1 tablespoon of
1 tablespoon of
of a capsule of red yeast rice
teaspoon of unpasteurized miso with
Cover with an airlock of clear
or translucent plastic (saran wrap or
plastic baggies, for example, but do not use biodegradable plastic.) secured tightly with a rubber band and
set in a warm, sunny window sill. Keep it for 7 days
after fermentation begins. Stir or shake occasionally if mold forms on
After it has fermented for 7 days, drain the tea off the sediment. In a
clear glass jar mix:
cup (8 ounces) of EM tea
cup of tea made from
assorted trees and plants (walk around the garden tea)
6 tablespoons powdered oatmeal
2 tablespoon of sugar syrup or honey (Molasses can be added up to 1% of
papaya tablets (or chunk of
of a wedge of lemon
Ingredients (these ingredients are food for the microbes
not required each one by themselves but a good portion of them or
similar substitutes should be included)
finely ground or powdered sand.
1 teaspoon of bone meal powder (or can
be taken from bone
broth which has been made from soup bones from a local pastured animal
that has been simmering long enough so that it can be crushed with the
1/2 teaspoon French green clay (or 1/2 teaspoon volcanic ash or other
1/2 teaspoon kelp (or dulse powder)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt (or full-array sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon crushed linseed (or chia seed)
1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
1/4 teaspoon spirulina (the contents of 2 capsules)
2 tablespoons of apple juice (or fruit juice or extract)
Cover with a clear plastic airlock. (Do not use biodegradable
on a sunny window
once a day for the next 3 days and then leave it to ferment
anaerobically for another 4 days.
fermented for another 7 days (for 14 days in total), skim
off any scum that may be on top and strain through a knit cotton
cloth, or use a plastic siphon to draw out the liquid and leave the
sediment behind. Store the liquid in a glass jar in the fridge, covered
airtight. (Put the sediment onto the compost, or use it to start
strained liquid can then be
used for any of your regular
ferments, to make an EM beverage or can be added to pasteurized food or
milk to restore the
vital enzymes that have been lost. It can also be drunk as is 1 or 2
ounces at a time after meals to improve digestion.
though some of the bacterial
colonies will be gone because some of the microbes will eat the lower
order microbes and take their place, the enzymes will be retained by
each succeeding colony
of microbes. It is the enzymes, as much as the microbes, that are
necessary for digestion and good health.
make an EM beverage (EM#3),
(Put a stick of cinnamon, a nutmeg and a vanilla bean in the bottom of
a ceramic tea pot for extra flavor, if desired, or use the spices or
flavorings of your choice. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla bean can be
left in the pot and re-used for as long as they still add some flavor
to the tea).
Fill the teapot up with mixed tall tree leaves and plants and herbs
from your garden
Add 800 mls of boiling water and let steep overnight
In the morning, drain off the tea through a knit cotton filter
Add 50 mls of EM#2 and 150 mls of sugar syrup
Pour into a liter wine bottle and
cover with a plastic cork, or pour into clean plastic soda pop bottles
and cover with a twist-on plastic cap. Store in a cool dark place and
a few days.
If carbonation is desired, use the plastic soda pop bottle and drink it
when the bottle has become firm to the touch and cannot be squeezed.
Other Things To Feed
1 grated carrot
1 Tablespoon of brown rice
1 Tablespoon of whole grain wheat or spelt
Tablespoon of powdered oatmeal or oat bran
1 ounce of malt extract
food if not organic,
otherwise peel can be left on. A little
organic dirt is OK. Chop apple and beetroot. Mash banana and tomato.
Why We Culture
we eat, enzymes in the saliva in the mouth increase in order to begin
to break down
(digest) the food. We are born with the ability to make thousands of
but many people are unable to activate them because they do not have
enough of the trace elements needed to complete the enzymes. Trace minerals give enzymes longevity, giving each
electromagnetic charge they should have.
stomach, food is
mostly broken down by hydrochloric acid, and then it goes to be
digested in the intestines by enzymes and the microbes that live in our
If we do not have the necessary
enzymes to break down and digest a
particular food, the undigested materials will be absorbed through the
gut as is, and accumulate in our system leading to weight gain,
inflammation, stagnation, digestive distress and general fatigue. These
symptoms may be called or diagnosed as leaky gut, food allergies or
intolerances, GERD or acid reflux disease, but they are all different
manisfestation of indigestion -- the inability to digest food properly
due to lack of sufficient enzymes. Other
digestive disorders such
disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac
disease, IBS and candida are
probably not solely
caused by simple indigestion and probably have other complex associated
causes, but increasing enzymes and microbes and improving digestion
would undoubtedly help them.
enzymes so they will naturally
deplete less of our enzyme stores. Fermented foods contain even more
enzymes and they can replenish or build up our supply of enzymes.
vitality. Eating cooked foods drain the body
of enzymes and vitality. Enzymes can be purchased as supplements, but
would be very difficult to manufacture and/or extract at home.
Microbes, on the other hand, are easy to grow and they will create the
enzymes for you.
What Is EM?
Microbes" or "Earth Microbes", depending on who you talk to. It refers
to the beneficial micro-organisms that culture and
our food and are symbiotic with us in our gastro-intestinal tract, or
it refers to the fact that the microbes come from the earth. If
you make yogurt, wine, kefir, kombucha or kvass you are using
some of these microbes already. These microbes come from and live in
the soil, so
they are also called "soil-based organisms".
Some microbes can harm humans. To
ensure there are no pathogens in
your EM beverage, you have to either
only microbes that have been
used as food, from your kitchen, such as those mentioned above,
micro-organisms from a trusted source that guarantees that they are
get a microscope and other lab equipment and test them
yourself. Instructions or information about each option are given below.
Making An EM Beverage
Non-Sulphur Bacteria (PNSB)
To make EM,
you have to include
which stands for "purple non-sulphur bacteria". Currently, there is no
used as food, so you either have to (1)
eliminate it, (2)
buy it from a safe source or (3)
yourself. The instructions at
the top of the
page make an EM beverage
the pnsb eliminated, because there is no easy way to make one in your
kitchen. Instructions or
information about buying or making a pnsb culture yourself and testing
it yourself are given below.
of South Korea makes PNSB (click here).
As of this page being written, there did not appear to be any way to
purchase this product . However, it is possible it is used as an
unidentified ingredient in other products.
stores in the UK carry a
product called Aquarium
Treatment Filter Start. They don't say exactly what
in the box, but it does say it is "cultures
of selected bacteria". It may well be pnsb, as filtering aquariums is
something pnsb does well. WHERE
TO FIND PRIMARY-SOURCE PURPLE NON-SULPHUR BACTERIA: anaerobic
ponds and lakes where there is access to
sunlight; surface water from streams, bogs and transient
puddles and rain, snow, icicles and hailstones.High
concentrations have even been found in the water in carnivorous plants.
In Japan, EM beverages are sold on the
street, by the bottle. These pages in a google translation give you
some flavor of the ordinariness of EM in Japan compared to western
countries, and may give you some idea of what your product should look
like when it is made:
Primal Defense and Nature's
Biotics also claim
to contain soil-based microbes,
but not, I believe, the PNSB necessary to make it "EM".
(Soil-Based) Sources EM
Moldy barn hay
Liquid in carnivorous plants
you get EM from a primary
source you will need to perform various tests on it to assure its
safety and efficacy which are beyond
of this page.
Obtaining cultures from
non-orthodox or not food-tested sources
In general, most people who make EM appear to have the attitude that
need inexperienced people trying things that
get themselves or others sick or worse, thus setting back the product,
industry, etc." so there is very little help to be had in finding out
ways to make your own EM brew. There are
companies that sell the bacteria you are looking for, for different
purposes, but do not
necessarily list the bacteria on the label.
product that contains .Lactobacillus
Streptococcus sp., Aspergylus and Fungi: and another
product that contains various
strains of Rhodobacter, Rhodopseudomonas sp. and Rhodospirillium sp..
All of these are suitable for EM-type cultures.
Organisms From Primary Sources
make EM, you need to get a
culture of bacteria. You can
buy food grade EM starters online. Search for "food grade"
EM'. They are very expensive,
considering they sell them by the quart and you only need 1 tablespoon.
You can also make your own starting with
a culture extracted from
moist, deep soil, the muck at the bottom of ponds and in the liquid in
the pitcher that forms the trap in carnivorous plants. However, you
should be aware that there are some risks involved in making your own
culture from these primary sources (see above). EM comes from the soil
commercial EM had to get its start from the soil, but, presumably,
buying it from a commercial source rather than getting your own for
free, much as it goes against my grain to say this, may be the safer
If you buy a commercial EM, follow their instructions for AEM
If you want to
make your own primary culture from deep soil or pond muck, put it in a
clear glass container, add water, mix thoroughly and then let it set.
After the dirt or other solids have settled to the bottom, you can look
at the water to make sure there are no parasites (roundworms) swimming
around in it. Pour off the water into another clean glass jar. (Discard
the dirt.) Add some sugar syrup to the water, cover with a loosely
woven piece of cloth for 3 days, and then replace the cloth with an
again let it set for awhile. Keep it in a sunny location.
Let a patch of grass in a sunny location grow to full height
and seed and then turn dry. Take some of the straw (stalks) from this
hay and add it to the water made from soil above.
Wait until it
shows signs of fermentation. A microscope would be helpful at this
point. Check again for parasites that may have
grown larger during this time. If it is still parasite-free -- and this
is your responsibility -- you can start making your EM with it.
Making a batch
making your brew, it is important that the right microbes get started
at the beginning, so undesirables do not have a chance to grow. If you
have brewed ale or made kombucha, you are probably familiar with this
concept. To suppress undesirables, start with a small dilution at
first, and then increase. In other words, start your brew half culture
and half water and sugar and when that is brewing well, add more water
and sugar. Another thing that will suppress undesirables is to brew in
soda pop bottle with screw-on top and screw the top on which will raise
the pressure with the CO2 buildup which will increase the CO2 and
hydrogen in the brew, causing the pH to drop faster (and literally
feeding some of the organisms faster) and inhibiting bad germs
After you have a goodly amount of EM brew with a good brew
can put in your additives/foodstuffs. Remember it is important to keep
stirring and shaking after putting in additives so that everything
stays evenly distributed.
Make Your Own Efficient Soil-Based
1. Take a heaping tablespoon of wet earth from
gets a lot of sun, about a foot deep.
2. Mix it with warm water
3. Take 2 cups of vegetable kitchen waste and mix
a cup of warm water and put it in the blender on high speed. Add more
warm water if necessary. Blend until it forms a thick puree.
4. Let the dirt and water stand still until
at the bottom.
5. After dirt has settled out from water, pour
kitchen waste slurry and mix.
6. Put this in wide-mouth glass jar.
7. Cover with leaves, cut grass or other plant
8. Cover the mouth of the jar with a piece of
secured tightly with a rubber band. (Do not use biodegradable
9. Put someplace where
drainage will not be a problem, and
let it sit for 3 days, during which water will fizz and bubble out of
10. After 3 days, replace water and then replace plastic and
11. Put someplace where drainage will not be a problem (I
the jars in plastic bags and stick them outside in moderate weather)
and let sit for a month.
12. After a month, open the jar, throw away the leaves and
the liquid onto the soil in the garden.
elixirs contain cultures of photosynthetic bacteria, yeast and
fungi. The original source is dirt. To start your own culture, you
would take a heaping tablespoon of moist dirt from a sunny, open
as deep down as you can dig, mix it with water and when the dirt
settles at the bottom, use the
water on top to begin culturing until you arrive at a food-safe
culture. If you don't have the expertise or know-how, or sense of
adventure, to determine when it is safe to use as a food starter, it
would probably be better to buy a commercial EM product the first time
and then use that to start a never-ending microbial culture. These
instructions will assume you are using a product that is already made
to a legal or government food safety standard. If you feel you want to
do it yourself, see my page(s) on Harvesting Wild Yeast, learn how to
make ales or other brews from airborne yeast cultures, and, after you
have done that, you can transfer those skills to making your own
microbe soup from dirt, if you want.
However, having said that, I decided that I, personally, wanted to
cultivate my own soil-based microbes, rather than buy a commercial
brand ($33 + shipping). The problem with geophagy (eating dirt) is not
so much with the single-celled so-called bacterial pathogens, which
apparently do no harm when cultured in this manner, (tending to prove
Antoine Beschamps' germ theory that a diseased state causes bacteria to
go bad, rather than Pasteur's theory of the opposite), but with
multi-cellular parasites, roundworm in particular. Roundworm is very
tiny but it is visible, so working with soil cultures I will have to
make a close visual inspection to make sure the water I draw off the
soil is completely clear with nothing visible swimming around in it. I
will then have to pass it through a filter with a weave large enough to
let bacteria, yeast and single-cellled fungi through, but small enough
to exclude other organisms. I have no idea what size holes I should be
My plan is I'm going to filter it through a thin cotton handkerchief.
Then I'm going to try to make a ferment (i.e., beer) with the filtered
liquid. If it ferments, I'll know that yeast got through, so the
bacteria would have made it, too. Then, I shall drink said liquid,
which may, or may not, give me some idea if a parasite was in the
liquid. (Backup plan: eat lots of garlic if I experience signs of
If I can successfully extract a good culture from the soil, my plan is
to give the instructions on how I did it to anyone, so they can try to
do it on their own, but I still have to advise them to buy it already
made to food standards.
| Make A
I dug up a
spoonful of dirt from the garden. (Next time I would dig deeper into
I put the dirt
in a clean glass jar
the dirt settle. When the water is clear, inspect visually to make sure
there is nothing swimming around in it.
the clear water through a cotton handkerchief, do not
squeeze, do not wait until it has all dripped through but just use the
water that goes through quickly at the beginning and throw the rest
spoonful of molasses into the filtered water,
molasses and water let it sit
until it shows signs of fermentation
I don't make a batch
But here are some things I have come to
learn about it if I did:
* Brew in a clear or
translucent container in
the light to encourage phototropic bacteria
* You have to have a microcope
to check for
* You need to be able to test
for pH. no
higher than 3.4, 3.2-3.3
would be better. If it is 3.5 it is still OK
to put on your garden, but anything above 3.6, throw it out. See ph_test_strips on how to make your own pH testing strips.
precise makeup of the microbes in EM
is not that important, as long as you have purple non-sulfur
lactic-acid bacteria and yeast.
* To test for purple
non-sulfur bacteria: A
DIY "ball park" test for levels of PnSB in EM can be the rh2 score. A
lower rh2 score indicates higher level of antioxidant
action which indicates a higher level of PnSB in EM
The rh2 score is similar to an ORAC assay which is really
To find the rh2 score you need a PH and ORP pen, they are both offered
in one pen or you can buy an ORP pen for about $100.00 by itself. To
convert Ph and ORP score into rh2
rH = (ORP + 200) / 30) + (2 * pH)
the Risk of Pathogens in Your EM Brew
E-COLI can survive in
oxygen. Reducing molasses
may reduce the likelihood of e-coli. Brew long enough for a balance of
bacteria/archaea and protozoa so that e-coli will be controlled by
Your EM Before
Look at the seal to see if the fermentation was anaerobic (most
microbes that are dangerous to humans when ingested need an aerobic
environment to grow.)
on it -- think about it
for a day and ask yourself if you think
test -- The smell has been
described as sweet, healthy, earthy,
clean and tart. It should not be unpleasant.
Taste test -- it should taste
astringent, acidic, tart. sweet and sour, with a
slightly dusky background flavor of molasses, effervescent.
Spoiled will make you gag.
(taste only a
drop, a drop is 1/60th of a teaspoon)
Try a small sample (1/4 teaspoon) and work up to larger doses if all is
well with the previous sample. The
be clean and
tart due to the lactic acid. If it is not, spit it out immediately and
rinse with Listerine or some other germ killer, and then drink a glass
of water with DE (diamtomaceous earth) or clay in it.
Have a get-out plan for what you would do if you were poisoned in the
unlikely event the substance is poisonous after meeting all the above
DEALING WITH FOOD POISONING
should be aware of what food poisoning feels like. Assuming
you have only ingested a small amount, you will feel
not-hungry and very tired and sleepy. It is best to have a soft bed to
lie down in and
not have to have anything to do for the rest of the day and the next.
Water or other liquid by the bed may be useful, but you will probably
not feel like eating or drinking anything. Have heat sources such as a
heating pad or space heater available should you feel cold. There may
be episodes of vomiting or diarrhea at first, proceeded by dull
stomachaches for the remainder of the poisoning episode. You will
mostly want to sleep, and sleep will be easy though you will have
strange, drugged dreams and incoherent thoughts. You may feel the pain
of hunger after a few hours of not eating, but still have no desire to
eat. Disclaimer: This information is given for educational purposes
and if used or adhered to is done so solely at the reader's own risk.
don't mean to discourage you if you
want to make your own homebrewed
EM, but you should be aware that food poisoning is a risk of eating
living organisms. You should be prepared to take reasonable steps to
reduce that risk, and know what to do if it happens.
you still want to make EM with primary source material and are
willing to take responsibility for
the risks involved, go back to "Make
of the uses for
EM culture may be contrary to rules or guidelines in your governmental
jurisdiction. Also, some practices may not be approved by official or
orthodox medical practitioners, and some could be dangerous if
processed incorrectly. This site is offered
for information only and if you choose to use the information here, you
do so at your own risk and responsibility.UPDATE:
I ended up not drinking any of my EM because I was afraid of all the
scare-mongering about the germs in the soil. I don't believe the germ
theory of disease but I am still a product of my upbringing and culture
and I couldn't overcome that uneasiness. Anyway, I moved on.
Eventually, I came to look at dirt as a source of minerals. At first, I
mixed the dirt with diatomaceous earth to kill the "germs", but I
didn't like the look of that (it turned it from a vibrant brown to a
dead-looking grey) so I started eating the dirt raw (dried and sieved,
but not heated).Dirt is a great source
of minerals, humic and fulvic acids, enzymes and soil-based probiotics
-- and it occurred to me recently that this is the same dirt that I was
so afraid to drink as a beverage a couple years ago. So, I've been
thinking of re-opening my experiment with EM and making a batch using
some of the dirt I have with my morning coffee to culture a beverage
and see how that comes out.
I didn't make any "official" EM in the end because I am
happy with all the beverages I currently make and don't need any more.
What I did instead, since I always have a jar of raw dirt on the
kitchen counter, is add a little dirt to anything I pickle or
lacto-ferment, like sauerkraut or cucumber pickles. I have even added
dirt to organic pasteurized milk for when I couldn't get raw milk and
it clabbered it up very nicely. So I guess those are EM's in their own
and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen
Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods by Nancy
Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Dr.Edward
Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John