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"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]

Its ingredients were unknown, but a Hogwarts student wondered if phoenix tears may have been an ingredient in the Elixir of Life, whilst researching alchemy.[4]


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][5] Furthermore, while the Elixir extended one's lifespan, it did not stop one's body from ageing, and if using it to reach an exceptionally advanced age, it would leave them with a decrepit appearance.[6] For example, Nicolas Flamel, who created the Philosopher's Stone, lived for a little over six-hundred and sixty years, along with his wife Perenelle, and 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.[5]

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. Additionally, his streak of independence made it intolerable for him to rely on the Elixir to survive, and only desired it to recreate his body.[5]


At some point during the 14th century, Nicolas Flamel became the only known creator of the Philosopher's Stone and subsequently the Elixir of Life, using it to extend his and his wife's lifespan.[1]

The Elixir of Life was a banned subject of study at Hogwarts, as the staff were fearful that a student's search for the Elixir might eventually consume them.[7] Despite this, details about the stone were available in the Alchemy section of the Hogwarts Library.[4]

HM fake elixir of life

A fake bottle of the Elixir of Life

During the 1988–1989 school year, Jacob's sibling's date became fearful of their mortality after researching love stories for their date with Jacob's sibling and attempted to find the Elixir of Life in order to "control the ending of their story". Whilst trying to track down their date, Jacob's sibling ran into Mundungus Fletcher, who claimed to be selling the Elixir of Life for 600 Galleons, but eventually confessed that it was a fake when Jacob's sibling caught them giving wrong information about the Elixir. He believed it came from a fruit, when it actually came from the Philosopher's Stone. After admitting that he was selling a fake, he confided in Jacob's sibling that he believed that the Elixir was a myth, with the reasoning that, if there was a way to achieve immortality, then everyone would be immortal.[7]

During the 1991–1992 school year, Nicolas Flamel became fearful that someone was going to steal the Philosopher's Stone and create the Elixir of Life, so he moved it from Vault 713 to Hogwarts Castle, under the care of his friend, Albus Dumbledore. After Voldemort nearly managed to steal the stone, Nicolas decided to destroy the stone, and thus the only method of producing the Elixir of Life, however he had enough in reserve to "get his affairs in order", according to Dumbledore.[2]

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 was the same used for Infusion of Wormwood. Whether this was merely a placeholder image or was meant to imply the two are somehow related is unclear.
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Elixir of Life can be collected as an item (often from defeated enemies) and consumed, which will greatly heal the player (Harry Potter) rather than render them immortal or invincible to harm. It is also rather strange that this potion is available in this game, which is set in 1997 and 1998, as the Philosopher's Stone was destroyed in 1992, the source of this potion.
  • 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[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 24 (Norbert)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 5 (The Ministry of Magic) - Assignment "The Rogue Alchemist"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, "LOVE STORY" Achievement

See also[]