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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Types Of Ingredients And Their Procurement

Chapter 7
Most potions utilize two types of ingredients: those derived from animals, such as hermit crab shell, salamander blood, and griffin’s claw; and those which come from plants, such as dittany, asphodel, and bubotuber pus. There are others of course, such as those coming from insects and more, but these make up the bulk. Potions do not necessarily require an equal balance of plant and animal-based ingredients, but rather it varies from potion to potion. Certain ingredients will individually lend themselves to certain types of potions based on their tendency. For example, butterfly wings are often used in hallucinogenic and dream-altering potions, while dittany is almost exclusively used in healing potions.

One alternative type of ingredient that merits a moment of coverage are element-based ingredients. While crystals and metallic elements are not too often used in Western potions, they are occasionally used in certain recipes. North African potions, particularly those that come from Morocco and Tunisia, will often employ alchemical properties in their potions practice. There are select and rare instances of this in Far Eastern potions as well. Specific ingredients include shavings of copper, gold, and malachite.

Readers may also notice another form of categorization of ingredients: those that are derived from magical objects, and those which come from mundane. Quite often, mundane ingredients will contribute more mundane properties to potions. For example, while the rose does have its medicinal uses, rose water or rose petals will also occasionally be added to improve the smell and the taste of certain potions. Mundane ingredients also tend to be less volatile or reactive, and cause weaker side effects than magical ones.[1]

Ingredients can either be farmed and captured or procured from an apothecary. Most witches and wizards frequent a local apothecary, such as that of the author’s family, Slug & Jiggers, in Diagon Alley. Apothecaries source their ingredients based on the best quality and price ratio they can find, and dispense them at a small markup for their customers. In keeping with British Ministerial regulations, apothecaries are required to comply with certain ethical standards when procuring and selling ingredients.

Apothecaries will also often sell pre-brewed potions for the witch or wizard who does not wish to or are not able to brew them on their own. These are usually simple household potions that do not expire too soon, such as cleaning potions and similar.

Alternatively, some prefer to purchase their ingredients directly from herbologists or breeders a. This takes a bit more care, as it can be difficult to ascertain that animals are being kept and harvested in a humane fashion, and that the sourcing is entirely within Ministry law. Quite often, those who unknowingly purchase goods which are in some way illegally and unethically purchased will also face consequences for their ignorance.

Finally, it is possible for witches and wizards to grow, procure, hunt, and harvest their own ingredients. When doing so, it is crucial, particularly when dealing with living animals, to comply with Ministry laws regarding ethics and ensure the creatures are not protected and are treated humanely even if killed to be used in a potion. When it comes to plants, it is also important to have a solid background or fundamental knowledge of herbology before attempting to keep a greenhouse of ingredients. In recent years, the field of herbology has received a lot of criticism and scorn from those who deem it lesser for its concern with non-magical plants and Muggle sciences, but potioneers who use plant-based ingredients daily recognize the vital importance that herbologists play in the continuation of the field of potions in the magical world.

However ingredients are procured, it is also important to ensure that ingredients stay fresh, and the witch or wizard keeping them continues to safely discard spoiled plant and animal products. Using spoiled or past-date ingredients can frequently either yield a potion useless or make it harmful or even deadly. Thus, labeling ingredients with the purchase and best by date, if not already done by the apothecary.

[1]There is also a still somewhat-controversial third category that has been added within the past twenty to thirty years known as transitional ingredients. This includes some ingredients which seem to display magical qualities only when in contact with magic. For instance, certain potions with butterfly wings contain no strictly “magical” ingredients, but the butterfly wings themselves seem to take on a magical quality during the brewing process. More conservative witches and wizards do not approve of this additional classification, but it is actually a large part of the editor’s research concentration, so she thought it appropriate to include a note about it.

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