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Dittany

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Dittany
Dittany
Species information
Alternative names

Burning Bush[1]

Distinction(s)

It sometimes releases flammable vapours[1]

Usage

Dittany is a magical plant used in Potion-making, and is a powerful restorative. Its use makes fresh skin grow over a wound, and after application, the wound seems several days old.[2] In addition to its essence being applied topically, the raw plant can be consumed to heal shallow wounds.[3] Shredded Dittany is an ingredient in the creation of the Wiggenweld Potion. Also known as Burning Bush, it sometimes releases flammable vapours.[1]

Severus Snape suggested that Draco Malfoy use it after Harry Potter's attack on him using Sectumsempra, saying it may prevent any lasting scarring, if taken immediately.[4]

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.

It must be quite rare, because Hermione was only able to obtain a small bottle of it for her, Harry and Ron's travels.[2] Essence of Dittany is described as a brown liquid.

Etymology

DH1 Ron Weasley splinched, Hermione using dittany

Hermione applying some essence of dittany on Ron after he was splinched.

'Dittany' comes from the Ancient Greek δίκταμνον, supposedly Δικτή, meaning Dicte. Dicte is a mountain the plant grew on.

Behind the scenes

  • Dittany can refer to three real types of plant:
    • White dittany (Dictamnus albus) is a flowering herb that secretes an oil once used for anti-inflammatory purposes. However, the oil is also flammable, which is why the plant is sometimes known as the Burning Bush.
    • Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is a plant native to the island of Crete in Greece, where it is held to symbolize birth and love. It was one of the best-known medicinal herbs in the past[5] and mentioned in the works of Aristotle.[6] It was used in traditional medicine for wound healing, to treat stomach aches and for emmenagogic purposes, as well as for Divination in witchcraft and wizardry. It was believed to cause arrowheads to leave the body.[7] The plant is considered rare.[8]
    • Common dittany (Satureja origanoides) can be used to flavour food.
  • In The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, a sick baby is doused in dittany and wakes well and rosy.
  • In Book 12 of Vergil's Aeneid , Aeneas' mother Venus uses dittany (dictamnum in Latin) to heal his thigh wound; she mixes in a little ambrosia and heal-all (panacea)
  • Its nickname of "Burning Bush" is possibly a biblical reference.
  • Dittany's Danish translation is wrong. It is translated to Oregano.

Appearances

Notes and references

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