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Draught of Living Death

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"The Draught of Living Death brings upon its drinker a very powerful sleep that can last indefinitely. This draught is very dangerous if not used with caution ... This is an extremely dangerous potion. Execute with maximum caution."
—Abstract from Advanced Potion-Making[src]

The Draught of Living Death is an extremely powerful sleeping draught, sending the drinker into a deathlike slumber, similar to suspended animation. This draught is an advanced potion that is taught to N.E.W.T. students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


The potion is difficult to concoct, since Hermione Granger, a very talented potion-maker, who managed to concoct Polyjuice Potion in her second year, had trouble doing it. Indeed, Horace Slughorn states that only once before in his career was a student (presumably Severus Snape, the Half-Blood Prince whose bookmarked instructions deviated from the potion-making process made a far more effective draught than any other student, though this was never confirmed) able to brew a mostly finished draught in only a single hour.

Brewing instructions


A bottle of the Draught of Living Death

"The Draught of Living Death is a very powerful sleeping potion that can be made by adding powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood"
The following recipe can be followed to brew this potion:[1]
  1. Add the Infusion of Wormwood.
  2. Add the powdered root of asphodel.
  3. Stir twice clockwise.
  4. Add the sloth brain.
  5. Add the Sopophorous bean's juice.
  6. Stir seven times anti-clockwise.

Severus Snape's notes

  • The Sopophorous bean should be crushed with a silver dagger, not cut, releases juices more efficiently.
  • The juice from 13 Sopophorous beans should be used, rather than 12.
  • Stir anticlockwise seven times and clockwise once instead.

Notable examples

The Wiggenweld Potion is capable of reversing the effects of the Draught. The Hag Leticia Somnolens used the Draught in an attempt to kill a princess who made her jealous. A prince who placed Wiggenweld Potion on his lips revived the princess with a kiss.

Gethsemane Prickle brewed a Draught of Living Death to help subdue a Mountain Troll that had escaped from Percival Shacklehorn's tent into London, England.[2]

Behind the scenes

"I dare say that one drop would kill us all."
—Horace Slughorn on Harry Potter's potion[src]
Screenshot 450

Recipe (LEGO)

  • This potion is briefly mentioned in first year, though they did not create it until five years later. It was never really used in either case.
  • In the first film, it is called "The Draught of the Living Dead".
  • In the sixth film, Slughorn tests the potions by placing a leaf into each; when he places it into Harry's, the leaf disintegrates. He also states that it was "so perfect one drop would kill us all"; this was likely an exaggeration because the potion is a sleeping potion not a poison.
  • The Valerian root is a natural sedative.
  • The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives the following recipe:
  1. Cut up the Sopophorous bean
  2. Pour in 250 fl.oz. of water and add 5 oz. of African sea salt to the beaker. Set the beaker aside after all the water has been added. Be very careful not to shake or move the beaker now.
  1. Leave the water and salt to rest for five minutes.
  2. Slowly pour all the water into the cauldron.
  3. With your left hand use the graduated cylinder to obtain 40 fl.oz. of essence of wormwood.
  4. With your right hand hold the cauldron at a slight angle and pour ten drops (20 fl.oz.) of essence of wormwood.
  5. Now with your left hand hold the cauldron at a slightly different angle and pour another ten drops of wormwood essence.
  6. Chop three Valerian roots into small squared pieces. After cutting place it in a beaker with water. Leave it to settle for five minutes. Your potion should now be resembling a smooth blackcurrant-coloured liquid.
  7. Carefully pour the Sopophorous bean's juice into the cauldron
  8. Add seven drops of the reduced liquid from the beaker; make sure there are no traces or fragments of Valerian root.
  9. Stir the potion ten times clockwise; your potion should now be turning a light shade of lilac.
  10. With your right hand stir the potion counterclockwise until the potion turns as clear as water; every stir should take approximately two and a half seconds.
  11. Slowly put in seven square pieces of Valerian root.
  12. Stir the potion ten times counterclockwise.
  13. Add one hundred and fifty fl.oz. of powdered root of asphodel.
  14. Hold the cauldron with your right hand; with your left hand gently stir the potion ten times counterclockwise and eight times clockwise.
  15. Leave the potion to settle for two and a half minutes.
  16. Add one small piece of Valerian root.
  17. Your potion should turn to a pale pink colour; the preparation is now complete.
  • In the film, the following equipment is necessary:
    • Standard size cauldron (presumably pewter)
    • 150 fl.oz beaker
    • 50 fl.oz. graduated cylinder
    • Standard test tube
    • 250 fl.oz. measuring cup
    • Stirring rod
    • Dropper
  • The Nintendo DS version of the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives this recipe, as altered by the Half-Blood Prince:
  1. Shake vial of moondew and replace.
  2. Heat cauldron to the marked temperature.
  3. Pour moondew into cauldron. Potion should turn pink.
  4. Pour sloth brain into cauldron. Potion should turn cyan.
  5. Add flower heads to cauldron. Potion should turn green.
  6. Stir potion until blue.


Notes and references

  1. Scholastic Official Site
  2. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World - Case 2: Act 3

Potions (class)
Professors: 16th century Professor · Vindictus Veridian · Severus Snape · Horace Slughorn
Textbooks: Magical Drafts and Potions · One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi · Advanced Potion-Making · Moste Potente Potions · A Collection of Above Three Hundred Receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery
Potions at Hogwarts: Potions Classroom · Potions Staircase · Potions basement · Potions Club · Potion Master's office · Potion Master's storeroom · Dungeon Five · Cauldron cupboard
Potioneers: Arsenius Jigger · Damocles · Glover Hipworth · Golpalott · Gregory the Smarmy · Gunhilda of Gorsemoor · Hector Dagworth-Granger · Hesper Starkey · J. Pippin · Laverne de Montmorency · Libatius Borage · Regulus Moonshine · Rubens Winikus · Sacharissa Tugwood · Tilden Toots · Dr. Ubbly · Zygmunt Budge
Potions Studied: Boil-Cure Potion · Forgetfulness Potion · Hair-Raising Potion · Shrinking Solution · Undetectable Poisons · Wiggenweld Potion · Girding Potion · Antidotes · Strengthening Solution · Everlasting Elixirs · Felix Felicis · Draught of Living Death · Amortentia · Elixir to Induce Euphoria · Hiccoughing Solution · Poison Antidote · Swelling Solution · Draught of Peace · Wit-Sharpening Potion · Polyjuice Potion

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