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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."
—Libatus Borange's Advanced Potion-Making describing the potion[src]

The Draught of Living Death is an extremely powerful sleeping draught, sending the drinker into a death-like slumber, similar to suspended animation. The potion seemed difficult to concoct, since Hermione Granger, a prodigious potioneer, who managed to concoct the Polyjuice Potion in her second year, had some difficulty doing it.

Necessary equipment

The textbook in which the recipe was mentioned noted that the following things were needed for the correct composition of this potion:

  • 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



A bottle of the Draught of Living Death

  1. Cut up the Sophophorus 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.
  3. Leave the water and salt to rest for five minutes.
  4. Slowly pour all the water into the cauldron.
  5. With your left hand use the graduated cylinder to obtain 40 fl.oz. of essence of wormwood.
  6. With your right hand hold the cauldron at a slight angle and pour ten drops (20 fl.oz.) of essence of wormwood.
  7. Now with your left hand hold the cauldron at a slightly different angle and pour another ten drops of wormwood essence.
  8. 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 smoot blackcurrant-coloured liquid.
  9. Carefully pour the Sophophorus bean's juice into the cauldron
  10. Add seven drops of the reduced liquid from the beaker; make sure there are no traces or fragments of Valerian root.
  11. Stir the potion ten times clockwise; your potion should now be turning a light shade of lilac.
  12. With your right hand stir the potion anti-clockwise until the potion turns as clear was water; every stir should take approximately two and a half seconds.
  13. Slowly pour seven square pieces of Valerian root.
  14. Stir the potion ten times anti-clockwise.
  15. Add one hundred and fifty fl.oz. of powdered root of asphodel.
  16. Hold the cauldron with your right hand; with your left hand gently stir the potion ten times anti-clockwise and eight times clockwise.
  17. Leave the potion to settle for two and a half minutes.
  18. Add one small piece of Valerian root.
  19. Your potion should turn to a pale pink colour; the preparation is now complete.[1]

Severus Snape's notes

  • The sophophorus bean should be crushed, not cut, to get more juice from it.
  • Stir anti-clockwise 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.

Behind the scenes

"I dare to say that one drop would kill us all."
—Horace Slughorn on Harry Potter's potion.[src]
  • 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.
  • It is most likely the potion used by Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
  • The Valerian root is a natural sedative.


Notes and references

Potions (class)
Books chapterart hbp 09
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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