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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An Overview Of Potions In The Americas

Chapter 15
Today much of North America has adopted the standards of the International Confederation of Wizards with regard to education, as well as a mostly western tradition of magic, owing to the colonization of the continent by Europeans over the last several hundred years. However, other communities have recently started influencing the continent. To look at the American magical system today, it would still be predominantly European, but as magical peoples from all over the world (particularly those from East Asia and Africa) have begun to arrive in the nation, they have brought small traditional influences from their homelands with them.

While there is not a heavy magical population towards the south of Canada, where Muggles inhabit cities more densely, there are several magical communities further towards the snowy Canadian North. Yukon, in particular, is inhabited by magical Canadians as well as Russians who overlap into the Russian territory of Alaska.[1] Perhaps not surprisingly, other than the somewhat westernized potions of the region, other specialized potions include healing and warming potions, as well as potions that may be able to reverse limb and body death owing to cold and frostbite. Resources in much of the Yukon are limited, however, although there are a few characteristic coniferous trees, shrubs, and certain cold-weather magical and non-magical animals native to the region.

Perhaps the most unique magical region of the United States, the state of Louisiana still boasts a discernible blend of influences, including European, Native American, West African, and even some Canadian influences owing to the Cajun population.

While Ilvermorny sports Ministry-standard education opportunities for magical students throughout the continent of North America (and the Salem Institute boasts better standards, though is still not accredited), Central and South American students receive their potioneering education in Castelobruxo in Brazil, or other smaller non-accredited institutions elsewhere. As many young students of magical history will have learned already in their overview of the origins of magic and its place in ancient cultures, magical people held the role of leaders and priests in much of Central and South America, including the Mayan and Olmec cultures.

Rather than placing great stock in the ingredients the ancient magical people of the Americas used in their potions, many communities instead valued the materials out of which they made their brewing equipment. For example, magnetite was a very popular material for the mortars and pestles of ancient magical potioneers in the Olmec culture. It was thought that preparing ingredients in a magnetite mortar enhanced the efficacy of draughts and elixirs. It was subsequently proven through research and magical investigation that, while there are certain materials and spells that can be used on the tools involved in brewing, magnetite is not one that provides any discernibly more powerful potions.

Perhaps the most intriguing and favored potion ingredient to come out of Mesoamerican magical practice is the cacao tree. Chocolate is a treat greatly favored by magical and non-magical people alike. However, cocoa beans and chocolate with a high cocoa content prove to be very powerful and useful in certain healing and mood improving potions. It is interesting to note that chocolate even in its non-brewed form is often favored by healers in order to calm a distraught patient. It has been suggested, although not proven, that even Muggles who consume cocoa regularly, though without sugar added, seem to show fewer instances of heart attack and other heart-related problems. Further research on cocoa and cocoa-based potions will likely be conducted by the Ministry in the coming decades.

[1]Only a few years after the publication of this book, the Alaska Purchase, also known as Seward’s Folly, took place. The United States purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million U.S. dollars. It was not until 1959 that Alaska was made the 49th state.

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