Magical Drafts And Potions
Arsenius Jigger was a notable potioneer, former Ministry of Magic employee, and professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Following his retirement, he traveled the world studying various forms of defensive magic and potions in the hopes of giving young people a solid foundation in magical knowledge upon their entrance into Hogwarts. The following represents the third printing since Jigger’s original publication of Magical Drafts and Potions in 1856. Although the content remains the same, the editor has left footnotes to denote changes in legislation, theory, and other relevant content.
An Overview Of Eastern Potions
It should also be noted that the particular potions for which a region is noted does not necessarily speak to any trends in the culture of the nation or region - although in some cases it may - but rather the quality and type of ingredients native to the area. Most regions will create potions to be used domestically as well as exported based on the strengths of the ingredients they have on-hand.
The Chinese are perhaps best-known in the magical world for specializations in two fields: firstly, for their powerful love potions, and secondly, for their efficacious healing practices. Important to both of these endeavors is the Liondragon, more commonly known as the Chinese Fireball. In the 15th century, the famous Chinese dragonologist Quong Po discovered the many uses of powdered Chinese Fireball eggs, including luck, fertility, love, and healing potions. The trade of Chinese Fireball eggs was thus a very lucrative business until 1709, when breeding dragons was declared illegal at the Warlocks’ Convention. However, there are still dragon sanctuaries that operate with permission by the International Confederation of Wizards.
Soon after this regulation on breeding was enacted, the British Ministry of Magic declared Chinese Fireball - and all dragon eggs - a Class A Non-Tradeable Material. However, there is still a relatively booming black market trade on Chinese Fireball eggs. The author cautions young potioneers not to be lured by the lucrative aspects of this illicit trade, for being caught buying and selling such materials can lead to hefty sentences in Azkaban as well as monumental fines.
Pao zhi (炮制) refers to the Chinese alchemical practice of altering the properties of medicines in Chinese herbology. This process can include anything from brewing to roasting, calcining, wine frying, honey frying, or other means - most often combined with magic in the magical world - in order to bring out magical and mundane ingredients’ healing abilities. As an example, the special preparation of aconite or monkshood or fu zi (附子) involves a special magical roasting method that can treat liver dysfunction, including cirrhosis.
In ancient times, many potioneers worked with both magical and non-magical clientele to provide not only healing potions, but fertility solutions, as well as luck and love potions. As such, the Muggle tradition of Chinese herbology still reflects some magical understanding and knowledge of plants and other ingredients. Muggles throughout the world often seek these Eastern healing remedies, although they are no longer dispensed by magical healers or shamans.
As a last note on Chinese potions, it has long been a quest of potioneers in China, as elsewhere, to discover the Elixir of Life, or a potion that would allow the drinker to attain immortality. It is rumored that the famous Chinese alchemist Sun Simiao, often called the king of medicine, may have uncovered the secret. However, despite his own incredible and intuitive magical and healing talents, Sun passed away in the year 682, disproving his success in finding the famous elixir.
In India, potioneers have also sought a potion granting the drinker immortality, known as amrit or amrita (अमृत) in Sanskrit. Some Muggle legends claim that amrita was the elixir or ambrosia that made the gods immortal. As wizarding kind has no proof of the discovery of a potion of immortality or any truly immortal witches or wizards in India, it cannot be proven whether this is merely associated with faith, or whether the deities mentioned are, in fact, early powerful magical beings who were deified by non-magical people. Of course, a secret potion granting immortality is not necessarily something that magical beings would advertise having in their possession, owing to the danger in which they would place themselves as others tried to manipulate and steal the power.
While there is a small history of potions and potioneering in India, the country has been most well-known for its very powerful charms and spellwork as well as very talented students of divinatory practices. There is a small group of talented potioneers, particularly in the region of Karnataka and Kerala, and other parts of southwestern India, particularly the wizarding community in Kalale. They are very well-known for their advances in strength and endurance potions in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In Tibet, potioneers often use the liver and toenails of the Tibetan fox in potions that promote sanity and mental well-being. In fact, St. Mungo’s Hospital regularly sends cases of mental disturbance for which they have no remedy to Tibet and the witches and wizards in the Himalayan Mountains for additional treatment. These potions have known to retrieve the sanity of those who have experienced severe trauma and disturbance.
The horns of a breed of magical goat named a Tsewangra (ཚེ་དབངར), which is native to the Himalayan Mountains, are also used in calming potions and pacifying potions. They can also be used in a forgetfulness potion that appears to be safe for Muggle consumption, interestingly. This potion is occasionally used by the International Wizarding Task Force that is permanently stationed in the Himalayas in order to cope with frequent breaches of Clause 73 of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, owing to the yeti making its home in these mountains and often making itself known to Muggles.
One of the best magical schools in the world is located in Asia: Mahoutokoro School of Magic in Japan. Mahoutokoro has a robust all-around potioneering program that is excellent for any young witch or wizard who wants a thorough view of the history of potioneering in East Asia and the world as a whole.
Although students of Mahoutokoro are best-known for their valuable and powerful cherry wood wands, petals of the sakura, or cherry blossom, is also a characteristic of Japanese potions. These petals are often used in powerful dreamless sleep potions, as well as some which are similar to the well-known Draught of Living Death. They are also used in mood-altering potions, particularly Yuutsu no Kusuri (憂鬱の薬) or the Draught of Melancholia. This is a potion that was often used by magical Japanese philosophers who felt that the profound melancholy produced by the potion allowed them to better understand and contemplate with the transience of life and the fleeting nature of the world. It was also used as a weapon by some who sought to subtly impact their enemies to bring about downfall through depression and hopelessness.
Muggle literature in both China and Japan often speaks of magical beings - particularly witches - who have the ability to turn into foxes, spiders, and other animals. While much of this may have been reports of Animagi using their talents in front of non-magical people, it is also possible that it was the work of a particular type of potion made throughout China, Tibet, Korea, the Eastern part of Russia, and Japan that utilize the sable, a species of marten native to the region. In Japan, this potion is called Senshi no Sentan (戦士の仙丹), or the Shapeshifter’s Elixir, and the sable’s blood used in this potion comes from the sables located on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Japanese potions also make a good deal of use of the flying fox, particularly the Ryukyu flying fox, in brewing practices. Their wings are often used in potions that enable one to see through fog and in the dark, while their toenails are used in swiftness potions. Japanese bats and flying foxes also make spectacular pets, I am told, and are often used in place of owls to deliver mail and messages.
While the author was not able to confirm the efficacy of this potion while traveling through Thailand, it is said that Thai wizards are able to create a potion that they call Ya Phi (ยาผี), often called Ghost’s Brew by westerners. This potion enables the drinker to ensure that, when they pass away, they will join the living spirit realm, or that is to say, become a ghost. In some magical Thai communities, this is seen as a way of achieving immortality, although the body will inevitably wither away and die.
In Mae Nak Phra Khanong (แม่นากพระโขนง) or Lady Nak of Phra Khanong, a legend that has been traveling around in certain circles, it says that within the past ten to twenty years, the Lady Nak, a witch who had consumed Ghost’s Brew while she was pregnant, passed away during childbirth, the child passing as well. She and her husband did not realize that she was deceased, and they lived together for several years. When her husband Mak discovered that he had lived with a dead woman and a dead child, he was incapable of handling the information, and thus fled his wife. It was said she haunted her neighbors and the region for many years until a monk finally convinced her that soon enough, her husband would die, and it was quite likely he would join her in the afterlife. The monk promised to convince - or trick, if necessary - her husband into taking Ghost’s Brew in order to appease the mournful Lady Nak. It is unknown by the author, of course, whether this is a true occurrence, or if the monk succeeded in his endeavor if so.
Potioneering in Thailand, Nepal, and Vietnam also utilizes the flowers and wood shavings of a tree known as wightia, particularly for luck potions and potions that increase a sense of well-being.
Indonesia is known for its rich diversity of flora, many of which are used in Indonesian potions. For example, there are 270 species of orchid on the island of Java alone, which holds over 25,000 different species of plant overall. The orchids of Java are collected and sold internationally to be used in some very powerful aphrodisiacs and lust potions. They can also be used in certain fertility and birth control potions. The Sumatran striped rabbit as well, native to the Barisan Mountains on the island of Sumatra, is also harvested and used in potions for family planning. The rabbit is also a relatively popular and supposedly wonderful and loyal pet for witches and wizards.
The national flower of Indonesia, the melati flower (Jasminum sambac), is also used in a truth serum that is exported throughout the magical world. This serum is not only very strong, but it is also almost undetectable, being clear and having nearly no scent or taste at all. In fact, this potion is so powerful and dangerous, many local Ministries have classified it as a Non-Tradeable substance. The potion also utilizes the eyes of a Siau scops owl, found only on Siau Island.
If the reader will recall from previous chapters, the fire crab is also native to Fiji Island. The fire crab is a turtle-like creature with valuable jewels and gems pressed into its shell. It makes an excellent cauldron for potioneers as well, and many Indonesian potioneers prize their family fire crab shells. It can be difficult to raise and maintain fire crabs, as they shoot fire from their rears in order to defend itself when threatened or harassed. Thus, the local Ministry of Indonesia offers training for those who wish to raise fire crabs at home.
The magical communities of Central Asia, including nations such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, show a fascinating blend of influences, receiving a good deal of healing and medicinal potioneering from further east in China. They are also inspired by the manipulation and psychological potions from the great expanse of Russia as well as the specialized flight and beautification potions of the Middle East. Tashkent and Samarkand, cities in Uzbekistan which boast large magical communities not far from the cities, have long been retreats for witches and wizards who were exiled from other parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Unsurprisingly, as there is a large number of wild cat species native to the Central Asia region, many of the potions that are native to the area involve varying forms of cat hair, cat’s claws, and cat blood. These potions have varying effects, from warming and cooling potions, stealth and silencing potions, as well as cloaking potions. Witches and wizards in this region also seem to have a close relationship with these cunning cats, and are often gifted with these parts willingly rather than having to kill or harm the animals in order to gather the ingredients.
In 1920, the Indonesian government made the poaching of this owl illegal owing to its standing as a critically endangered animal.