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Introduction to Effective Micro-Organisms by Tom Kirkham

Updated: Jul 29

Why am I telling you about effective micro-organisms?

When I was struggling with pain, mental fog, and fatigue my doctor at National Integrated Health Institute gave me EM-1 to help the systems of my body to recover from exposure to mold, candida overgrowth, and certain persistent infections.

Years later I learned that natural farmers brew their own effective microorganisms to help their plants, and that they also drink them to help support their overall health, as an apple a day kind of thing. This was one factor in my personal story of supporting my overall health & wellness. It was a big factor, but I’m a big believer that we all need our own individualized protocol to best support our overall health and wellness.

I don’t claim to diagnose or cure any disease. Please consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice related to your situation. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a Health Care Practitioner. You should not rely on information received via this website for medical decisions.


What are effective micro-organisms…?

EM, or effective microorganisms, discovered in 1982 by a horticulture professor, have evolved in their use from a way to reduce reliance on agricultural chemicals to resolving environmental contamination issues and understanding our connection to nature at the microbial level.

If there is one thing to grasp in this world, it is that life could not and would not continue to exist without microorganisms. Microbes play an important role in the life cycle by breaking down organic matter, making nutrients available, aiding in all life forms' digestive functions, and supporting the natural flow of life's energy.

What is EM-1…?

EM-1 is a fermented light muddy brown to near-translucent reddish-brown liquid that is merely water with a lot of microorganisms. The molasses that is used in the process is mostly eaten by the resulting micro-organisms.

EM-1 can be used directly, although it's more commonly utilized as a component in other EM products such as activated EM-1 (a way of making your own EM-1 so that it lasts much longer - for instructions click here), Pro-Em-1, or SCD Herbal Probiotics. As a result, EM-1 might be called a primary EM product.

How is EM-1 used…?

Drinking, adding to water for watering plants, and spraying with water for odor control are just a few of the direct applications of EM-1. For the same purposes, activated EM or other EM fermented recipes (that is, fermented with EM-1) are employed alternatively for cost reasons.


Drinking EM-1

To produce an EM fermented drink, combine one or more of the following ingredients: water, fresh juiced fruits or vegetables, fresh bulbs [garlic, etc.], roots and spices [ginger, hot peppers, etc.], as well as sea salt, mineral extracts, and so on with a food grade EM product (such as PRO EM-1). If you don't want to make your own, SCD probiotics offers a drink made with EM-1 and herbs. Depending on how powerful (sour, tangy, tart, spicy) you want your drink to be, the aged EM fermented drink can be consumed straight or blended with water or seltzer.

If you want to drink EM, start with small amounts, such as a few drops to a teaspoon in a cup of water. EM can be consumed either alone or with water. If you drink it straight, it's always a good idea to drink water or juice alongside.


A shot-glass (about 1.5 fl oz) a day could be an average amount of EM to consume,

either all at once or a teaspoon or tablespoon at a time (9 teaspoons=3 tablespoons=1.5 fl oz) throughout the day, straight or with each cup of water you drink.

Some people do a 1/2 cup or full cup of food grade EM-1 every now and then for a colon cleanse. Be sure your doctor supervises you if you're considering this.


Keeping EM-1 for difficult situations...


Some people keep a small spray bottle of food grade EM-1 on hand in case you eat something unsettling (clams that may be off, old sushi, or an oncoming bought of food poisoning). If it's also a spray, you can spray it in your mouth for bad breath or on an odorous area such as carpet or tile.


Watering plants with EM-1


Use activated EM to water your plants. When you water your plants, use 1 fl oz (2 tablespoons or 6 teaspoons) of activated EM per gallon of water. Use 1.5 teaspoons (1/2 tablespoon) per gallon of water (or 1/3 teaspoon per quart of water) every other week or once a month.


Add about 1 fl oz (2 tablespoons or 6 teaspoons) of EM-1 per gallon of water every time you water your plants in pots, planters and in your garden.

Cleaning & Taking away odor with EM-1


Wash, mop, or spray rugs, carpets, tiles, wood flooring, fabrics, upholstery, plastic/rubber seats, dashboards, curtains, etc. with 1 to 2 fl oz of Activated EM per gallon of water (or 1.5 to 3 teaspoons or 1/2 to 1 tablespoon in a quart of water if using a quart-size spray bottle) for odor problems.


Same as with using Activated EM, add about 2 teaspoons per quart (32 fl oz) of water (quart size spray bottle), and spray to area and spray to area if after cleaning (spills, stains, pet waste stains, on rugs, carpet, tiles, wood, fabrics, upholstery, including toilets, urinals and potable toilets. Carry a small sprayer (e.g., 2 fl oz spray bottle) for bad breath, for various bad odor situations, and to drink from in case of an unsettled stomach.

If you get into the habit of fermenting with EM for all kinds of purposes, you may become reluctant to use EM-1 directly, especially when you know you can use that same EM-1 to make 20 times as much. But don't hesitate to use EM-1 directly if you forgot to make your batch, or your batch isn't ready in time.


Take a look at some typical EM-1 ingredients.

EM-1 Microbial Inoculant, for example is listed with the Organic Materials Review Institute, and it can be used by certified organic operations. The ingredients on the label are:

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: 1 million colony forming units/cc (units/ml), Lactobacillus casei INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: 96% Water and 3% Molasses

Microorganisms typically found in EM products may also include Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rhodopseudomonas palustris

More information on lactic acid bacteria

L. plantarum - in saliva (first isolated); liquefies gelatin, foods found in: sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, kimchi, Nigerian ogi, sourdough, cheeses, fermented sausages, stockfish


L. casei - in human intestine and mouth; known to improve digestion and reduce lactose deficiency and constipation ; complements growth of L. acidophilus, found in: cheddar cheese, green olives


L. fermentum - found in sourdough


L. delbrueckii - found in: yogurt, mozzarella cheese, pizza cheese, Hartkäse, Berg-Alpkäse, Bleu de Bresse, Bleu de Gex, Fourme d'Ambert

Bacillus subtilis - commonly found in soil; can survive extreme heat; natural fungicidal activity; used in alternative medicine; can convert explosives into harmless compounds; used in safe radionuclide waste; produces amylase enzyme (present in saliva; breaks down starch into sugar), foods found in: Japanese natto (fermented soy beans), Korean cheonggukjang (fermented soybean paste)


Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae - brewing and baking, top-fermenting yeast (ale) foods found in: baked breads, coffeecakes, pastries, croissants beverages found in: beer, wine, mead, cider, vinegar


Phototrophic Bacteria Rhodopseudomonas palustris - naturally found in soil and water, a food source for small organisms (zooplanktons, small crustacea); a natural detoxifier; degrades odors in agricultural and industrial waste; stimulates growth of actinomycetes (white 'mold') which suppresses the growth of pathogenic fungi, improves soil structure, humus formation, helps soil retain water, and breaks down tough plant materials; benefits growth of certain crops and fruits; also found in earthworm droppings, swine waste lagoons, marine coastal sediments, and Swiss cheese.

Sources: http : // www. goodmicrobes. org / whyem. html #whydoesitwork https: // www. permaculturenews. org /2016/01/19/ what - are - effective -microorganisms/






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