Dittany is a magical plant used in Potion-Making, and is a powerful healing herb and restorative. Its use makes fresh skin grow over a wound, and after application, the wound seems several days old.
In addition to Dittany's essence being applied topically, the raw plant can be consumed to heal shallow wounds. It is used in a mixture with silver to cure werewolf bites, and shredded Dittany is an ingredient in the creation of the Wiggenweld Potion. Also known as Burning Bush, it sometimes releases flammable vapours.
Hermione Granger used Essence of Dittany to heal Ron Weasley's arm when he splinched it Disapparating soon after the trio's escape from the Ministry of Magic in 1997. She used it again to heal the snake bite Harry received on his arm from Nagini after they were attacked in Godric's Hollow, and once more following the Break-in of Gringotts, to heal the burns they had received from the burning treasure contained with the Lestrange Vault.
Dittany might be quite rare, because Hermione was only able to obtain a small bottle of it for her, Harry and Ron's travels. Alternatively, as only small amounts are needed to heal the various wounds the trio acquire, perhaps a little goes a long way. Essence of Dittany is described as a brown liquid.
'Dittany' comes from the Ancient Greek δίκταμνον, supposedly Δικτή, meaning Dicte. Dicte is a mountain in Crete, the plant grew on.
Behind the scenes
- There are a number of real-world plants with the common name dittany. Though its description in the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone matches most closely with that of Dictamnus albus, Origanum dictamnus has a more significant history of being used as a medicinal plant, and is thus more likely to be the type of dittany J.K. Rowling had in mind.
- In The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, a sick baby is doused in dittany and wakes well and rosy.
- In Book 8 of Natural History, Pliny the Elder stated that deer consume dittany to remove arrows from their wounds, which revealed the plant's healing virtues. Twice in the Harry Potter series, dittany is mentioned in connection to an individual whose corporeal Patronus is a stag or a doe. After Draco Malfoy is attacked by Harry, Severus Snape recommended the use of dittany to prevent scarification. Later Hermione uses the Essence of Dittany to heal Harry's snake bite.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Motorbike Escape