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.

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Brewing And Administering Potions

Chapter 5

As the reader will soon learn in his or her brewing career, there is no one single sequence through which magical persons brew potions. Thus is it imperative to heed each individual recipe as it is encountered. Most beginners’ texts will list the steps in full, including the occasions in which the potioneer is to stir as well as brewing and raising and lowering the heat.

However, some books of standardized potions, particularly of common and simple home brewing solutions, will not include all of these steps, will be a book merely consisting of lists of ingredients in the order in which they are to be added. Occasionally they will also list Estimated or Total Brewing Times and break into “Ingredients Part One,” “Ingredients Part Two,” and so forth, although this is not always the case. This is done in consideration of the length of the book. These books will usually contain three- to five-hundred recipes, but because they do not contain any instructions as well, will usually be fairly small and portable. These books assume that the witch or wizard will have brewed these potions often enough that the steps have become almost habitual. If a potioneer has any questions about the process, it then takes referring back to more detailed tomes in order to refresh the memory.[1]

The most common sequence to brewing involves adding water or occasionally essences of certain plant oils to the cauldron and bringing up the heat with fire or a self-heating cauldron of some variety. Subsequently, properly prepared ingredients - be they sliced, diced, ground, inserted whole, or otherwise - are added to the cauldron. The potioneer periodically stirs with his or her wand, careful not to dip the end of the wand in, as some potions can be quite corrosive in nature! Occasionally the heat will be raised and lowered for a period of time, as this has some impact on the potion and increases its efficacy.[2] There is at least one period in which the potion is left to “brew,” and this is what creates your concoction.[3]

After it brews, witches and wizards can either leave the potion to cool and bottle it to store as is, or they can add Flobberworm Mucus, tree sap, melted or caramelized sugar, or other thickening agent as preferred. Different regions throughout the world often use what magical or mundane thickeners they have present, so if a British witch or wizard plans to travel outside of the United Kingdom, he or she may be forced to use one of these alternative potion thickeners. While the consistency may be slightly different in other regions, there should be little to no impact on the efficacy of the brewed potion.

It is important to be aware of the shelf life that a potion has. Some potions must be consumed or used within an hour, while other potions have no expiration as far as we have yet discovered. There are also potions that can be used immediately after brewing, while others must be stored and matured for a period of time before use. The total period of time required for a potion to brew is known as “Total Brewing Time,” often abbreviated as TBT. This is in contrast to the amount of effort a witch or wizard must put into the brewing of a potion, which is called Estimated Brewing Time, or EBT.

Regarding storage, many potions do not have specific storage requirements, but some do well in hotter or colder storage vessels, while others must be stored in extreme sunlight or dark in order to be most effective. Although the cautions regarding storage should be heeded when possible, if specific storage is not available, keeping a potion in a moderate climate without direct sunlight will possibly shorten the efficacy of the potion slightly, but should not lead to any dramatically terrible effects when utilized. When a potion expires, it is crucial that a witch or wizard dispose of the potion safely, and not simply dump it down a drain or in the garden. Most magical households will have a potions disposal of some sort. There are also frequently places where magical people can take their expired potions to be properly disposed of by the local Ministry.

There are two popular ways that magical people can use a potion: orally and topically.[4] It is important for young potioneers to confirm the application method most appropriate before using a potion. While topical application will almost never be dangerous if a potion is meant used orally (although it may be completely ineffective), drinking or orally consuming certain potions that should only be applied to the skin can be fatal. The amount of potion required for maximum effectiveness can also vary depending on the concoction. Some only require two or three droplets either applied directly to the skin, the tongue, or in tea or another drink. Others will require much greater amounts, and some witches or wizards may be forced to drink a full glass of a potion in order for it to have any effect. If a young witch or wizard thinks that he or she may have overdosed on a potion, it is important to get professional consultation immediately, as this can lead to unexpected and serious side effects.

As a final caution, the author feels it imperative to note that, although many witches and wizards may have non-magical pets in their household, such as cats, toads, owls, and lizards, magical potions may be dangerous to use to treat their mundane afflictions. Such solutions to strife should only be approved by a healer with extensive knowledge of animals, or a magizoologist. Similarly to Muggles’ own poor reaction to magical potions, they can have severe impacts on mundane animals, even those who have lived with direct exposure to magic for hundreds or thousands of years.

[1]There was a brief movement among magical communities in Israel in the 1950s to create a set of niqqud, for lack of a better word, or diacritical markers, that would indicate subsequent steps such as stirring, raising or lowering the heat, and other simple brewing instructions. This would save space and also allow for quick, coded instruction for young witches and wizards. Although this concept comes back around every few decades, it has never taken a foothold. Perhaps on the heels of Muggle “chatspeak,” the concept of creating simple written ideograms or shorthand that would allow recipes to be quickly and simply annotated has once again gained traction in popular potions publications.
[2]This is owing to the thermal energy.
[3]This is the portion of the brewing process when the magical energy and magical or mundane ingredients interact.
[4]Beginning in the 20th century, potioneers also began to use injections or inhalation as an alternative to oral or topical application. This is still a relatively uncommon application method, however.

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