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Healing Potion
Makes the owies go away?
"Everybody knows if you find a first-aid kit with all it's fuckin' hypodermic needles in the trash, first thing you should do is eat it!"

When heroes are injured and have to heal themselves, the favored method is to quaff a Healing Potion. Typically this item is mostly used in Fantasy settings, but it can easily be adapted to other Speculative Fiction stories as a form of Applied Phlebotinum made of Nano Machines or whatnot. It can be as common as a Standard RPG Item, a one of a kind MacGuffin, or somewhere in between.

Healing Potions are an old, old trope. Many fairy tales, legends, and myths have a medicine woman or even goddess come to an ailing hero with a cup of Ambrosia, Dragon's Blood, or other magical elixir that reinvigorates the hero to continue their quest. It rarely ever has unpleasant side effects, but you never know. When Silver Has Mystic Powers, it makes a good way to brew and/or hold these.

Typically, it restores Hit Points depending on the quality of the potion. Some can bring back the (near) dead, and others will barely clot papercuts. Depending on its use in the plot it may even function as a one-time Healing Factor that can remove scars and regrow lost limbs. As an added bonus, lobbing one at a zombie is sure to harm it.

For First-Person Shooter games, this item is starting to enter Discredited Trope or Undead Horse Trope due to most shooting games shifting from health kits to regenerating health. Although most survival horror games have kept Health Kits to ensure a player is kept on their toes.

A Super Trope to Emergency Energy Tank. Compare Healing Herb, which may be an ingredient, and Healing Hands.

A Sister Trope to Panacea (curing potion), Mana Potion (spellcasting restoration).

Compare Hyperactive Metabolism (a.k.a Health Food), Healing Spring, Resting Recovery.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Senzu Beans in Dragon Ball and its related series. They can heal any damage even on the point of death, as well as curing fatigue and restoring a fighter's ki. They were introduced as a special food, one bean supposed to be enough to feed a man for a whole day, although as the main characters are all Big Eaters, this is not quite the case in practice.
  • The Ixir that was given to Ako in Mahou Sensei Negima! when she found herself with a terrible disease in the Magical World. Unfortunately, it's also extremely expensive and she found herself enslaved in order to pay off her debt of 1,000,000 Dp.
  • There's an version in Agnis Philosophy, which is surely a Mythology Gag to the Final Fantasy series. The titular character, pursued and injured, grabs a soda bottle full of water and transforms it with magic into a healing potion. While this causes her wounds to heal, including the bullet to pop out of the bullet wound, it's clearly extremely painful for her.

    Card Games 

    Fan Works 
  • With Strings Attached. "God bless healing potions!"
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Jericho deconstructs this trope. If imbibed on an empty stomach (read: anything short of absolutely stuffed), they will kill you. Since they work by re-appropriating biomass, if you haven't eaten they will break down parts of your body to get the biomass to cure your wounds. Coupled with the narrator's habitual lack of eating, it nearly murders him. Even professional Prussian soldiers don't like health potions because of this:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Water placed in the Holy Grail will heal the wounds of and even grant immortality to anyone who drinks it. If you want to nitpick, it was more of a "chalice that turns water into a healing potion" than a "healing potion", but the Joneses didn't want to look that gift templar in the mouth. Of course, the False Grail(s) had a different effect.

    Gamebooks 
  • A staple of the Lone Wolf gamebooks. The most common kind is the Laumspur potion, brewed from the Laumspur herb you can find over most of Magnamund. There are other varieties, more or less efficient, like Rendalim's elixir, Lanurma, Oxydine, Oede herb, etc. Very useful even with the Healing discipline, since it's quite easy to get mangled beyond what your Healing Factor can quickly repair.
  • While most heroes from the Fighting Fantasy series relied on Health Food, there were some Healing Potions spread throughout the books. Mostly they just worked the same way as provisions did, healing 4 stamina points per dose. The more powerful Potion of Stamina however is a better example as it healed half your initial stamina points.

    Literature 

    Other Sites 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The various editions of Dungeons & Dragons are largely responsible from turning an uncommon myth into a staple of all fantasy games.
    • Standard Fourth Edition healing potions are interesting in that, like many other healing effects in that version, they require the expenditure of a healing surge to work (which are normally spent "naturally" during short breaks in the action for the same reason) — and once your natural healing reserves for the day are used up, potions aren't going to do you any more good, either. Moreover, whereas hit points restored by spending a healing surge are normally a fraction of the character's uninjured total, the amount restored by a given potion is fixed and can thus be more or, more problematic, less than what the drinker would normally get back. Additionally, most NPCs lack healing surges, and thus are completely incapable of ever healing (if they even had more than a single hit point in the first place).
    • Older editions had an example of a non-magical healing potion: an expensive balm could be applied to a wound in order to heal less than three hit points. It was useful because, though expensive, it was often available for purchase when magical items were not.
  • Health and Healing potions are very useful in GURPS because healing spells are difficult to cast multiple times a day on someone.
  • Warhammer has a healing potion available in its list of common magic items (available to all armies), which can be drunk at the start of any turn to restore D6 wounds to the character carrying it.

    Theater 
  • In John Milton's Comus, Sabrina can work wonders with her "precious vialed liquors".

    Video Games 
  • The modern analogue, at least in function, is the First Aid Kit/Medkit.
  • Ever since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Healing potions have replaced Hidden-in-walls Roast Joints as the healing item. Besides, who would want to waste their only Pizza, Shiitake, or Bratwurst doing something so mundane as healing?
  • Chrono Trigger, seeing as it imported most items from Final Fantasy.
  • Diablo series.
    • In Diablo III they put a cooldown on potion and make them rarer to prevent player from abusing it to stay alive.
    • Torchlight, Spiritual Sequel made by the Artist Formerly Known As Blizzard North, keeps them. On the lighter difficulties, you are effectively invincible with even a small stack of them, but in the harder ones, things get significantly rougher.
  • Every Final Fantasy game except for Revenant Wings.
  • Kingdom Hearts, being half-Disney, half-Final Fantasy.
  • Fire Emblem has vulneraries (which in most games heals a set amount of HP), which in Real Life are drugs for treating wounds; they appear in-game as flasks, though the games are unclear if the contents are rubbed onto the wound, drunk like a potion, or if both work. The all-HP-restoring Elixirs are a straighter example of this trope.
  • If you look at it closely, a Medkit from Half-Life 2 contains a vial of green stuff that looks like this. In the Episode expansions, you can also find "half medkits" consisting only of this vial. A speculation states that the Medkits are so effective because the green liquid is the same bluish-green healing liquid the player finds in pools around Xen.
  • Averted in Guild Wars. The game lacks both healing potions and a fast inventory system for them to run on. Their absence is almost conspicuous. However, every class has a way to heal itself (of varying effectiveness), and the Primary/Secondary class system means anyone can have Monk as a secondary to have (most of) the best healing available. And having a dedicated healer in the party is generally advised.
  • Guess what the Potions in Pokémon do. Go on. Guess. No, no, it's alright. We can wait if you need to think about it for a while. However, unlike most of the entries on this page, Poke-Potions come in spray bottles.
    • there's also the more powerful forms, Super potions , Hyper potions , and Max potions.
  • The manual for Thief: The Dark Project lists "Healing potion: This does exactly what you think it does."
  • Most The Legend of Zelda games have at least a healing potion. Others add a Mana potion and a both-potion.
  • All Roguelikes have them, and most of them have multiple types of varying potencies, with the more potent sometimes also curing various Standard Status Effects. In the Nethack variants drinking one while at full health will increase your maximum Hit Points.
  • Prince of Persia
  • Left 4 Dead
    • First-aid kits, which can provide health to yourself or your fellow survivors. However, you must hold still for a few seconds while you apply them. This can be risky at times during the Zombie Apocalypse.
    • In addition to first-aid kits, there are also pain pills. They can be consumed instantly, but only offer a temporary boost in health. This can prove handy because your character starts to limp at low health and pills can be just what you need to hold yourself together until you can find shelter.
    • The sequel adds adrenaline shots, which gives a temporary health boost and gives only half the amount that pills do, but you gain the ability to run faster, run through water without slowing down, common infected won't slow you down when they hit you, and all actions that require time to execute (such at using health kits) take half the time, which is extremely handy if you need to revive a survivor quickly.
  • Stimpaks in the Fallout series of games. Although there are alternatives such as food, drink and bloodpacks.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, you can pick up or buy bottles of RX that serve this function. In a subversion, unlike traditional potions it doesn't instantly restore your health to full, but you must wait some time for the healthbar to refill, and enemies can interrupt the healing. Best to ensure there aren't any interruptions around.
  • Trauma Center: Antibiotic gel. Which is also in Persona 4.
  • Serious Sam has small pink vials and larger green Erlenmeyer-style flasks. Not to mention the pills that give 1 health each and usually lead to a trap that spawns more enemies which will certainly cause more damage than you gain from picking up the pill.
  • Unreal Tournament has vials of a sky-blue liquid. Whatever that stuff is, fair bet that the same stuff is inside a Big Keg O' Health.
  • FPS and other games in the Star Wars universe have bacta tanks.
  • Heretic has the crystal vial, quartz flask, and mystic urn. The latter two can be picked up and carried to use them later. The crystal vial restores 10% health, the quartz flask restores 25%, and the urn restores you to full health.
  • The first four Harry Potter games had Chocolate Frogs that did this. The second also had Wiggenweld Potions, and the fourth added red Bertie Bott's Beans, Cauldron Cakes, and Pumpkin Pasties.
  • In the Resident Evil series, there are the various herbs and healing sprays.
  • Some of the Halo games feature these in the form of health kits.
  • Medigel in the Mass Effect games qualifies.
  • Nitemare 3D, being a game that takes place in a haunted house with witches and wands and the like, had literal health potions. Blue for 10% added health, and red for 20.
  • In a Doujin JPRG called Alshard (based on the table game of the same name) they have healing items in the form of crystals and berries which do percentage-based heals (10% of your health is healed by absorbing a crystal which is based on your current health while your health can also be healed by Healing Machines based on the amount of money you spend on it! So you pay 1000 credits you get 10% you pay 10,000 you get 100% healing!)
  • RuneScape has the Saradomin Brew, a yellow potion which will restore a player's lifepoints, and is one of the few items that will boost lifepoints above their skill level defined maximum, but is has the drawback of each successive dose lowering the player's combat stats slightly.
  • Dark Souls has Estus, stored in a jade flask, refilled at Bonfires, and your main method of healing. It's also the main method of healing for all Undead, and some of your Hollow foes will drink some when they're low on health.
  • Deadly Towers had these in four colors: red, orange, green and blue, in increasing amounts of healing.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has the Doctor Bag, a deployable item that can be used by the team which fully restores their health and resets their timer for bleedout (every knockdown reduces the timer).
  • Minecraft has the straight example of the trope with varying strengths of healing. You can also craft the splash version of the potion which heals anyone in its radius while also damage to the undead.
  • Dishonored has Sokolov's Elixir which also has the function of protecting against the plague.
  • In addition to the traditional one, the Mac RPG TaskMaker offers "Extra Healing" (a stronger potion), and various items that will restore your health and/or other stats to various degrees (including "Instant Weekend" and "Instant Vacation"). Eating Spinach also restores your stats. Most of this is also true of the sequel The Tomb of the TaskMaker, but with "Bucky's Famous Beef Stew" replacing the Spinach. The latter game also has a "Purple Pond Potion" which is more powerful than the healing scrolls.
  • The staple healing item in Monster Hunter. Available types include, from weakest to strongest, the basic Potion, Mega Potion, Max Potion, and Ancient Potion. Due to a rather tight limit on how many of each item you can have in your inventory, it may be worth taking a full stack of each type with you on a hunt
  • Your main source of healing in Terraria. Consuming one instantly restores health, but also imposes a "Potion Sickness" debuff that disallows consuming another healing item for 60 seconds (or 45 seconds when equipped with a Philosopher's Stone). Also present are Mana Potions, which restore only Mana and have no cooldown, and Restoration Potions, which restore both health and mana but lack a "Greater" version.
  • In BioShock, in addition to the medkits and food items, alcoholic drinks restore HP at the cost of Mana.
  • Ragnarok Online introduces potions with the basic Red Potion, followed by Yellow, Orange and White, and then the Condensed versions that have increased efficiency. Eating certain fruits, herbs or foods also restores a minor amount of health. It is also possible to craft healing items using the aforementioned herbs and fruits, which is naturally the specialty of the Alchemist class...who can also invest in a skill that allows them to chuck potions at allies to heal them.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • A vial of healing water proves to be an important plot item in Avatar: The Last Airbender .
  • In an episode of American Dad!, Roger uses a lotion to re-grow Stan's legs after they've been torn off by a polar bear. Of course Roger was the cause of said incident, but he made it right in the end.
    • However, it apparently takes a while for Stan's legs to grow back to full size, so he's stuck with a pair of tiny baby legs until then.

    Real Life 
  • At the beginning of the 20th Century, ALL the leading causes of death were from infectious disease, and medicine at the time had a limited repertoire of responses. Then came antibiotics, penicillin in particular; The Other Wiki states is thus: "The purified antibiotic displayed antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria. It also had low toxicity and could be taken without causing adverse effects. Furthermore its activity was not inhibited by biological constituents such as pus, unlike the synthetic antibiotic class available at the time the sulfonamides. The discovery of such a powerful antibiotic was unprecedented."


Healing HerbInjury TropesHeal Thyself
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alternative title(s): Health Potion
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