Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

"The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with making the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary substance with astonishing powers. The Stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal."
— A Hogwarts Library book[src]

The Elixir of Life was a potion procured from the Philosopher's Stone that made the drinker immortal, as long as they consumed the potion on a regular basis.[1]


The Elixir of Life would extend the lifespan of those who drank it, and so long as they keep drinking it regularly, they would remain immortal.[1][2]

The Elixir was also able to restore a disembodied but earthbound soul to full life, creating a body. Indeed, Lord Voldemort, surviving as a lingering spirit due to his Horcruxes, planned to steal the Philosopher's Stone to use the Elixir for that purpose, but was thwarted by Harry Potter in 1992.[2]

One of the three main goals of alchemy was to create panacea, a remedy that would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.[3] The creation of the Elixir of Life could be considered to be the success of this goal, as the potion extended life if drunk for eternity,[1] and could bring a disembodied soul back to a physical form.[2]


The Elixir of Life was not infallible. If a person used the Elixir to age beyond their natural lifespan, they would become completely dependent on it, and ceasing its consumption will lead to death.[2][4] Furthermore, while the Elixir extended one's lifespan, it did not cease one's body from ageing, and if using it to reach an exceptionally advanced age, it would leave them with a decrepit appearance.[5] For example, Nicolas Flamel, who created the Philosopher's Stone, lived for a little over six-hundred and sixty years along with wife Perenelle, but took on a senile and ancient appearance, dying when he and his wife decided to have the Stone destroyed which subsequently depleted their supply of Elixir.[2]

In addition, the supply of Elixir could become contaminated, which may have either annuled the drinker's immortality or outright become poison.[4]

According to Albus Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort refused to rely on the Elixir of Life for his immortality, as he would have been required to drink it for eternity, and the possibility of contamination or the stone's loss would result in his death. His streak of independence made it intolerable for him to rely on the Elixir to survive, and only desired it to recreate his body.[4]

See also

Behind the scenes

  • In the first film, Lord Voldemort claims that unlike unicorn blood or the living off another, the Elixir of Life can give him a body; however, in the film, it is not made clear that the Elixir can supply one with a spare body.
  • On Pottermore, the image used to illustrate the Elixir of Life for the "Favourites" screen is the same used for Infusion of Wormwood. Whether this is merely a placeholder image or is meant to imply the two are somehow related is unclear.
  • In the real world, many historical individuals who were alchemists, attempted to create what they believed to be an Elixir of Life. Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were actively toxic, one such that Qin Shi Huang of China died from a large dosage of mercury that he believed to be elixir.


Notes and references