"A more subtle potion than many appreciate at first savour, the Shrinking Solution causes creatures to shrink to a younger form."
Zygmunt Budge[src]

The Shrinking Solution,[1] also known as the Shrinking Potion,[4] is a potion that causes the drinker to shrink to a smaller form.[2] It is bright green when brewed correctly and, if prepared incorrectly, it can apparently be poisonous.[1]

One practical use of this potion is in the transportation of livestock — it allows for a wizard to carry an entire herd of pigs in the pocket.[2]


Sometime throughout wizarding history, wizard Samuel Plunkett, who was persecuted by a Muggle village, poured Shrinking Solution down the village well and terrorised the shrunken villagers by chasing them around in hobnail boots.[5]

In the 1500s, accomplished potioneer Zygmunt Budge developed his own version of this potion, which, in his words was "the best you will find". According to Budge, part of the potency of his variation came from stirring the potion after adding the Shrivelfigs, an unorthodox step. It proved so powerful that, when he accidentally split a small amount on the grass outside his house, it caused an entire flock of sheep to shrink to lambs the size of woolly mice (Budge went on to use the shrunken lambs as ear-warmers in the chilly winters at Hermetray).[6] Budge also sent the potion to the two brothers of Tertius. Both of them shrank to the size of beetle, and, so the story goes, spent several days hiding under a cupboard while their cat tried to scoop them out and eat them.

During the 1987–1988 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Severus Snape taught his fourth year students how to concoct this particular brew in Potions class.[3]

"Everyone gather ’round, and watch what happens to Longbottom’s toad. If he has managed to produce a Shrinking Solution, it will shrink to a tadpole. If, as I don’t doubt, he has done it wrong, his toad is likely to be poisoned."
— Snape testing Shrinking Solution of Neville Longbottom's pet toad Trevor at the end of a lesson[src]

Professor Severus Snape assigned his then-second year students a "particularly nasty" essay on shrinking potions during the summer holidays,[4] and when they returned that fall, the first potion he had them brew was this one.[1] When Draco Malfoy, who had injured his arm being attacked by Buckbeak the Hippogriff, returned to class, Snape had Harry Potter and Ron Weasley brew his potion for him. In the same lesson, Neville Longbottom added too much leech juice and rat spleens to his potion, and Professor Snape threatened to poison Neville Longbottom's pet toad, Trevor, with the botched potion at the end of class. Luckily, however, Hermione Granger helped Neville fix it and when it came time for Snape to test the potion, Trevor turned into a tadpole.[1]

When Harry brewed it in 1996 for Ginny Weasley at the Potions Club, he commented that Vincent Crabbe should take some of it; presumably to lose weight.[7]

Brewing instructions

A phial of Shrinking Solution

A bottle of Shrinking Solution

Zygmunt Budge's recipe for this potion, as set down in his masterpiece, Book of Potions, is thus:

  1. Juice two Shrivelfigs and add their ruby blood to your cauldron.
  2. Stir slowly.
  3. Gently heat your potion.
  4. Chop four daisy roots more finely and add to cauldron.
  5. Add five hairy caterpillars.
  6. Add well-shaken wormwood.
  7. Stir vigorously.
  8. Juice four leeches and add.
  9. Stir slowly and with caution.
  10. Shake rat spleen and add to cauldron.
  11. Add a splash of cowbane.
  12. Stir slowly.
  13. Heat on a high temperature.
  14. Cast the Shrinking Charm.[2]

Severus Snape, however, in his personal copy of Advanced Potion-Making, preferred the following recipe:

  1. Add five sliced caterpillars.
  2. Heat till the potion turns red.
  3. Shake the peeled Shrivelfig until it is ready (this is extra important, as if one tries to add it before it is ready the potion may emit noxious green gases).
  4. Add peeled Shrivelfig until the potion turns yellow.
  5. Heat potion until it turns turquoise.
  6. Heat potion until it turns purple.
  7. Add four rat spleens to the cauldron.
  8. Add minced daisy roots till it turns green.
  9. Add five drops of leech juice.
  10. Add more of the Shrivelfig, this time till it turns pink.
  11. Add one sliced caterpillar.
  12. Heat mixture until it turns green.[7]


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Wonderbook: Book of Potions (See this trailer)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 5 (Time to Fly) - Potions Lesson "Shrinking Solution"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 1 (Owl Post)
  5. Wonderbook: Book of Spells - see this
  6. Wonderbook: Book of Potions - Chapter 4 (Beautification Potion)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)

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