Welcome to Potions 401!

Please read the following announcements before joining the course.

1. If you have submitted an assignment for this course, do NOT send the grading staff a message asking when your work will be graded if less than a month has elapsed. If more than a month has elapsed, please contact Professor Draekon and provide your Grade ID for that assignment in your message.

2. If you have any questions about the course content, please reach out to any Professor's Assistant for Potions 401. A list of current PAs can be found on the right side of this page.

3. If you believe an assignment has been graded in error, please reach out to Professor Draekon or Andromeda Cyreus, and provide your Grade ID for that assignment in your message.

4. Suggestions, compliments and constructive criticism about the course are always appreciated. If you have any comments about Potions 401, please send an owl to Professor Draekon.

Lesson 4) Weight of the World (Endurance and Weight)

You take your place in the classroom, only to notice that there are no special charms or portraits present around the professor's desk today. Instead, all you can see is a huge pile of paper forms and assorted sheets. Your heart suddenly drops, thinking that these might be your midterm examinations, and that you forgot to study.

However, a few moments later you remember that the midterms are supposed to happen next week. With a sigh of relief, you lounge back against your chair, still curious about the paper sheets on top of the desk. "Today I wanted to give all students a chance to see the products of their labors in practice, rather than being constrained to school in their efforts. We are going to brew a potion that affects one's endurance today; I urge those that want to test how effective their brews are to come to the front after class and register in an upcoming competition that will happen soon. Naturally, participation is completely voluntary; however, that might be a great way to see the practical results of your brews", Professor Draekon states before starting the class.

Many confuse the concept of endurance with that of simple “strength”. However, endurance is slightly more complicated, as it takes into consideration a number of factors. What good are strong leg muscles on a marathoner, for example, if a person has weak lungs and has trouble breathing after a mile? What good is it if they don’t have the concentration and emotional fortitude to hold up for 42 kilometres of running?

Strength vs. Endurance

Endurance holds a social and psychological connotation. Those who are able to go through terrible disasters or trying times and recover quickly are said to have good endurance or resilience. A complex set of factors can contribute to a person’s endurance, including support networks, emotional strength and financial stability. Used in this sense, endurance is not something that can be brewed in a single potion, but rather a selection of controllable and not controllable elements. We will cover some potions that relate to this type of endurance in Year Five, when we talk about psychological potions and the mental attributes of strength.

Today, however, we will be brewing the Girding Potion. The Girding Potion can best be described as a more complicated version of the Strengthening Solution. While the Strengthening Solution targets muscle fibers specifically, the Girding Potion works in order to improve a few different elements of endurance - namely, pulmonary functioning and muscle structure, as well as blood flow.

Girding Potion

Estimated Brewing Time:
Pewter Cauldron: 1 day, 2 hours, 36 minutes and 30 seconds
Brass Cauldron: 1 day, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds
Copper Cauldron: 1 day, 2 hours, 21 minutes and 18 seconds

Total Brewing Time:
Pewter Cauldron: 4 days, 2 hours, 36 minutes and 30 seconds
Brass Cauldron: 4 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds
Copper Cauldron: 4 days, 2 hours, 21 minutes and 18 seconds

1.5 L of water
60 mL of salamander blood1
30 mL of eucalyptus oil1
5 flying seahorses2
3 peppermint leaves2
2 fairy wings2
3 pufferfish spines1
4 dragonfly thoraxes2
6 Doxy eggs1
15 mL of vanilla extract3
15 g of dried gillyweed2


Part 1:

  1. Add 500 mL of water to your cauldron and bring the heat to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F).
  2. Add 30 mL of salamander blood and 30 mL of eucalyptus oil to a small bowl.
  3. Stir the contents of this small bowl with your wand once counterclockwise and put the bowl aside.
  4. Add 3 whole flying seahorses to your cauldron.
  5. Within 3 seconds of adding the flying seahorses, add 15 mL of the eucalyptus oil and salamander blood concoction. (Note: If more than 3 seconds elapse, the potion will be useless, and you must start the potion again.)
  6. Stir the cauldron twice counterclockwise with your wand.
  7. Add 3 peppermint leaves and 2 fairy wings to your mortar, and crush them to a fine, even consistency.
  8. Add the combined mixture of peppermint and fairy wings to your cauldron.
  9. Stir twice clockwise with your wand.
  10. Allow the potion to brew in your pewter cauldron for 32 minutes. (This would be 28 minutes and 48 seconds in a brass cauldron and 25 minutes and 55.2 seconds in a copper cauldron.)

At this point, the potion will be a deep turquoise, emitting pale yellow steam.

Part 2:

  1. Bring your heat up to 393 Kelvin (120°C/248°F).
  2. Within 10 seconds of bringing the heat up, add 3 pufferfish spines to the cauldron. Please be careful not to get splashed during this, as it will cause some nasty burns and rashes!
  3. Wait until 15 seconds after the spines have been added, and then reduce heat again to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F).
  4. Add 15 mL of the salamander blood and eucalyptus oil blend to the cauldron.
  5. Stir twice clockwise.
  6. Remove your potion from the heat source entirely for 1 hour (for any cauldron type) and allow it to sit.

At this point, the potion will be a pale orange-pink. The steam emitted will at first be a light purple with a pink hue. If the steam is green for whatever reason, discard the potion. This most likely means that your pufferfish spines were expired, and the potion has been ruined.

Part 3:

  1. Just before resuming, stir the 30 ml of remaining salamander blood and eucalyptus oil in a separate bowl once more counterclockwise with your wand.
  2. Add your cauldron to the heat again, ensuring it’s brought to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F).
  3. Stir twice counterclockwise.
  4. Add 2 dragonfly thoraxes and 4 Doxy eggs to the cauldron.
  5. Add 250 ml of water to the cauldron.
  6. Bring your heat up to 393 Kelvin (120°C/248°F) for 45 seconds. Then reduce heat again to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F).
  7. Add the remaining 30 ml of salamander blood and eucalyptus oil to the cauldron.
  8. Stir once clockwise.
  9. Allow the potion to brew in your pewter cauldron for 25 minutes. (This would be 22 minutes and 30 seconds in a brass cauldron and 20 minutes and 15 seconds in a copper cauldron.)

At this juncture, the potion will be a deep navy blue in color and will emit pale green steam. (Green steam is expected in this phase!)

Part 4:

  1. Stir the cauldron twice counterclockwise and once clockwise before resuming.
  2. Add 500 mL of water to the cauldron.
  3. Add 2 Doxy eggs to the cauldron.
  4. Add 2 flying seahorses and 2 dragonfly thoraxes to your mortar and crush them into an even consistency with your pestle.
  5. Add the contents of the mortar to your cauldron.
  6. Bring your heat up to 393 Kelvin (120°C/248°F) for 30 seconds. Then reduce heat again to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F).
  7. Allow the potion to brew in your pewter cauldron for 15 minutes. (This would be 13 minutes and 30 seconds in a brass cauldron and 12 minutes and 9 seconds in a copper cauldron.)

The potion will now be a deep red in color with light orange steam.

Part 5:

  1. After this next sequence of brewing, remove the potion from the heat entirely and leave it to sit in the cauldron for exactly 1 day, regardless of cauldron used.

Part 6:

  1. Re-add your cauldron to the heat source, and bring your heat up to 393 Kelvin (120°C/248°F).
  2. Add 250 mL of water to the cauldron.
  3. Add 15 mL of vanilla extract and 15 g of dried gillyweed to the cauldron.
  4. Stir twice clockwise.
  5. Allow the potion to brew in your pewter cauldron for 8 minutes. (This would be 7 minutes and 12 seconds in a brass cauldron and 6 minutes and 28.8 seconds in a copper cauldron.)
  6. Remove the potion from the heat and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before siphoning it into a vial.
  7. The potion must mature for 72 hours before consumption.

The final potion will be a greenish-gold color. It tastes a little like a spicy mint and smells like sweetgrass.

To Store:

The Girding Potion should be stored in a sunny, light-filled place that is maintained at a temperature of at least 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit). It can be kept for up to three months after brewing, after which point it should be safely discarded.

To Use:

15 to 30 mL of the Girding Potion may be taken every day right before exercising. On days when you are not working out, there is no need to take the potion. However, if you do not exercise at least four times each week, little change will be seen in maintained endurance, as the potion interacts with an active and energetic lifestyle. The best effects occur when exercise, including walking, is utilized every day.


Much like the Strengthening Solution, the Girding Potion works to help build muscles more efficiently. However, other ingredients in the potion target efficiency in additional factors that promote “endurance”. This includes strengthening the heart, improving lung capacity and also adding an underlying element of improved concentration.

Although this potion is slightly more complicated to brew, its effects are relatively innocuous, and it is hard to “overdose” on the potion. Rather, over-consumption will simply lead to the body expelling the extraneous potion through regular bodily functions.

Side effects of the potion include tingling in the extremities (fingers and toes). Occasionally, the user may begin to burp light pink bubbles. This is normal and should not be hazardous. If the burping turns into hiccups, however, and it becomes bothersome, please consult with a Healer to inquire about remedies or alternative options.


The Girding Potion should not be taken by witches or wizards with chronic heart or lung problems, including history of heart murmurs or asthma. The potion itself should not cause any adverse effects, but it can sometimes mask the symptoms of real heart or lung problems, causing additional complications.

It is recommended that those under the age of eighteen not take the Girding Potion, as it can negatively impact their natural lung and heart development.

Body Fats and Types of Weight-Related Potions


Now coming into this next portion, I want to include a content warning for those who may have or have had issues with weight, disordered eating or body dysmorphia. While I understand it’s a difficult topic for many, in discussing potions that modify a person’s physique, I would be remiss in not discussing one of the more popular - and more dangerous - trends in cosmetic potion use. That is, of course, weight loss potions. In reality, a person’s “weight”, or the number that appears when they step on a scale, comes from a variety of factors, including muscle mass and bone density. Humans are shaped differently, of varying heights and body types, so it’s impossible to set one ideal number for every person’s weight.

However, when a person fixates on weight, they are usually looking at two main factors: muscle mass and presence of fat cells. When we eat, we take in nutrients, such as crucial vitamins and minerals that are used to maintain our body systems. We also take in proteins that can be broken down to create energy in order to power our bodies and bodily functions. However, when we consume more energy than can be used, it is stored as what are known as triglycerides in fat cells. These cells can expand and contract depending on how much of these triglycerides you are storing. Your body can also create new fat cells to store additional triglycerides. However, without non-magical surgery or magical intervention, these new cells will never be eradicated from the system, regardless of the diet or exercise regime.

There are two types of potions used when witches or wizards are trying to shed extra pounds: metabolic potions and adipocytic potions. The first is relatively safe when taken in proper doses and with proper oversight by a magical nutritionist or healer. The second is much more invasive, however, and can lead to severe and permanent complications.

Metabolic potions are potions that control the metabolic rate of an individual. That is, the potions control how quickly the person expends energy. If a person’s metabolism increases, they expend energy more quickly in order to support their additional body functions. Thus, if they are actually using ingested energy more quickly, it will not be stored in fat cells. Those fat cells still exist, but will not expand as much, causing the person to slim down measurably. Of course, these potions can lead to complications and are dangerous when taken without the guidance of a professional. If a person begins expending energy at a rate that’s faster than what they’re ingesting, for example, they may slowly waste away, depleted of vital energy to keep up with energetic needs. Thus, these metabolic potions should only be taken under the recommendation of a licensed Healer.

The other type of weight control potion is the family of adipocytic potions. These potions are much more dangerous and extreme in nature, as they actively break down and eliminate existing fat cells (adipose tissue in particular - those of you familiar with a certain Muggle BBC television show may be somewhat familiar with “adipose” - do not worry, though, your fat tissues will not come to life!). These potions are relatively experimental and even the “safest” of them have some pretty severe side effects. Potioneers have not yet figured out how to convert fat cells into innocuous substances, and as a result, side effects of these potions can include bursts of extreme energy, fever, convulsion and in some cases stroke. There is even an instance of a witch in Leeds who spontaneously burst into flames following a dose of adipocytic potion. I highly advise against ever playing with these potions.

In contrast, there are also potions that, in fact, help a person put on weight. These often slow the metabolism, preventing the body from expending energy to a certain degree, and promoting the creation of fat cells. While, given popular culture, the use of these potions may seem odd, they can be rather helpful when used by Healers to help those who have just recovered from a long illness and lost a good deal of weight in the process. These potions can also have many other uses, and often contain a good deal of protein as well as the magical components. Can you think of a situation where a potion that caused the consumer to gain weight would be a benefit?

That said, I do feel as though, as your professor, I have a certain obligation to remind you that there is no “one size fits all” model - no pun intended - for weight, fitness or musculature. Everyone’s body differs naturally, and the important thing is to find what works for you. Your body is not the same as anyone else’s, and while the opinion of your primary care Healer is certainly important and to be taken into consideration, it’s important to maintain a level of fitness and dietary consumption that allows you to be as comfortable as you can be in your own skin. Some people have wider set hips, some have narrow shoulders, some have naturally wide ribcages - tall, short, curvy, flat, it’s most important to be at the size that’s right for you.

Also, regardless of the weight loss or weight gain potions that you may want to use, you should always accompany any practice with direct consultation with a Healer specializing in nutrition, diet and exercise. They will be able to better inform you what is right for you, and help you change your lifestyle - if at all necessary! - for a healthier life. Or they may tell you that you’re close to fine just as you are, and to just cut out certain unhealthy foods without the aid of potions.

And with that, I will let you off the hook for the day. On another note, if you'd like to try your hand at an endurance-based activity, you may come to the front and grab a registration form for the Hogsmeade Half Haul, a half-marathon that takes place in and around Hogsmeade every autumn. They are sponsored by Spintwitches, and they donate all proceeds from the marathon to Every Home, A Broom - a magical organization that has been around (albeit somewhat informally at its inception) since the early seventeenth century. The group collects old broomsticks and refurbishes them to ensure every magical household, including the poorest, has a means of transportation. They also have a youth sports program that provides used racing brooms to under-privileged witches and wizards and holds weekend and summer Quidditch training programs. A very well-run organization.

If you aren’t interested in running, there are always opportunities to walk or even just turn up and support your classmates who are participating! The local shops always provide refreshments, sell their wares at discount, and it’s typically a wonderful time.


Original lesson written by Professor Lucrezia Batyaeva
Image credits here and here

In Year Four of Potions, students will focus on Physical Modifying Potions. This will include beauty, blemish removal, and even the famous Polyjuice Potion. Every lesson will include a lab exercise that will teach the student the relationship between potions and their impact on the physical body.
Course Prerequisites:
  • PTNS-301

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