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Potion

Depictions of vials of potions

A potion (from Latin potio "drink") is a magical type of liquified medicine or drug. The term philtre is also used, often specifically for a love potion, "supposed to be capable of exciting sexual attraction or love".[1]

In mythology and literature, a potion is usually made by a magician, dragon, fairy or witch and has magical properties. It is used for various motives including the healing, bewitching or poisoning of people. For example, love potions for those who wish to fall in love (or become deeply infatuated) with another; sleeping potions to cause long-term or eternal sleep (in folklore, this can range from the normal REM sleep to a deathlike coma); and elixirs to heal/cure any wound/malady.

Creations of potions of different kinds were a common practice of alchemy, and were commonly associated with witchcraft and the occult, as in Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

During the 19th century, it was common in certain countries to see wandering charlatans offering curative potions. These were eventually dismissed as quackery.

In modern fantasy, potions are often portrayed as spells in liquid form, capable of causing a variety of effects, including healing, amnesia, infatuation, transformation, invisibility, and invulnerability.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Philtre / philter, n". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ John Grant and John Clute, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, "Potions", p 779

External links