''"Everybody knows if you find a first-aid kit with all its 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, Gradual Regeneration.
open/close all folders
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 Agni's 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.
- With Strings Attached. "God bless healing potions!"
- The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. John especially makes frequent use of them, both for healing and to help with his claustrophobia.
- 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.
- In The Ultimate Evil, Shendu knows how to concoct a tonic that hastens one's healing process. He says that it's simple alchemy and easy to master. Uncle can also make it.
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.
- 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 Gradual Regeneration 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.
- Healing potions have limited use in Almost Night. They can heal blood loss easily enough, but can't bring back someone who has been ripped to pieces.
- The cordial Father Christmas gives Lucy in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Deconstructed in a Magic: The Gathering tie-in novel. The protagonist, being a cop who has frequently stated that he's getting too old for this, frequently uses Healing Potions after cases. This, coupled with his Alcoholic tendencies, have caused a dependency on quick healing that will eventually kill him.
- The Shahnameh: Key Kavous is in possession of this but refuses to share it with Rostam when he sends Giv to get it for the mortally wounded Sohrab. Key Kavous's paranoia sets in and he fears that if Sohrab is healed he will go through with his oath to kill Kavous and usurp his throne and now that Rostam knows Sohrab is his son they will join forces! Granted this was actually Sohrab's intent, Key Kavous should have known that Rostam was too loyal to ever let it happen, especially after all Rostam had done for Kavous.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Slithering Shadow", Xuthal has an amazing golden wine that cures and revives. It not only brings Natala and Conan back to health after being lost in the Thirsty Desert, it lets Conan easily shake off the wounds inflicted by an Eldritch Abomination Living Shadow.
- Parodied in Don Quixote. The eponymous character claims to have the recipe for an elixir that heals all wounds, but being who he is, it instead induces severe pain and vomiting.
- In The Elric Saga, before the titular character finds the dread Black Sword Stormbringer, his life depends on regular supplies of healing and restorative potions. In the hands of the Big Bad, he is threatened with a lingering death in which just enough of the healing potion is applied to him.
- In The Girl From The Miracles District, Nikita regularily uses a foul-smelling potion that hastens mending of wounds and bones.
- 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.
- Present in Artix Entertainment's high fantasy games. Of course, this being Artix Entertainment, it's frequently Lampshaded and Played for Laughs.
- 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.
- The patch eliminated normal healing potions and gave you a bottomless one that can be used every 30 seconds to restore 60% of your health. You can also collect legendary-class bottomless potions that add special effects for a few seconds.
- 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.
- In Diablo III they put a cooldown on potion and make them rarer to prevent player from abusing it to stay alive.
- 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.
- The various Potions in the Pokémon series, coming in regular, Super, Hyper and Max varieties, as well as the Full Restore which also cures Standard Status Effects. Unlike most examples, the Potions come in spray-bottle form and are applied to the Mons by their Trainer; it's even noted in-game that the Mons can't use man-made healing items, though they can hold on to a variety of Berries for similar effects.
- 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 a red healing potion, which recovers some or all of Link's hearts depending on the game. Other games add a green Mana Potion, and a blue potion that heals both. Some games have other healing "potions", as well:
- Milk, in several games. It heals fewer hearts, but is cheaper and easier to get, making it a good alternative early on.
- The Elixir Soup in The Wind Waker, which fully refills Link's health and magic, and also makes him more powerful, has two helpings, and isn't Too Awesome to Use as it can be easily replenished by talking to Link's grandma. The only drawback is that you can only carry one bottle of it at a time.
- Twilight Princess has a bunch of them.
- The Great Fairy's Tears. Much like Wind Waker's Elixer Soup, except you can fill up as many bottles as you have; there's only one helping per bottle, though.
- Chu Jelly, which can be scooped up after killing Chus. Depending on the color, they can act as lantern oil (yellow), restore eight or all of Link's hearts (red and blue, respectively), make him lose a heart (black), do nothing (green; it would likely have been used as a Mana Potion had the magic meter been kept in the game), act like the Great Fairy's Tears (rare), or be a Russian Roulette of sorts (purple).
- All kinds of soup. The Nasty Soup is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. You can scoop as much as you want for free, but you probably wouldn't want to, as like the Purple Chu Jelly it has a random chance of damaging Link. Yeto's soup is likewise free, and starts off Simple (restores two hearts). As you go through the Snowpeak Ruins and get him some more ingredients, it turns into the Good Soup (restores four hearts), then into the Superb Soup (restores eight hearts; basically a free red potion).
- Hot Spring Water. It's easy to obtain and replenishes all hearts, but useless in long journeys as it turns into regular, non-drinkable cold water after it cools down.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
- Pumpkin Soup. It's normally used in a sidequest, but you can get some for yourself. It's cheap, but not as practical as a good ol' potion, though; it recovers eight hearts when hot, but it cools off after some time, and only restores four hearts then.
- Revitalizing potions' main use is to repair your shields, but they have the added bonus of healing some of your hearts as well.
- 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.
- 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, but a lot of these are also radioactive (and chock full of preservatives to remain edible after 200+ years).
- 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.
- Kolto and medpacks in Knights of the Old Republic.
- 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.
- The Mass Effect games have Medi-Gel, the universally useful wound treatment salve. It sterilizes the wound site and then immediately staunches the bleeding by congealing over it (and is removed for full treatment by ultrasound). It appears to be a genetically engineered organic material, as it's been deemed "technically illegal by Citadel law", but it's just so darn useful that everybody ignores that little technicality. Customized formulations are available for different species' anatomies.
- 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).
- PAYDAY 2 has a redesigned doctor bag and a mini bag. The new doctor bags heal and restore knockdowns, which are now limited but have 30 seconds bleedout time. First aid kit sets have more healing charges, can be placed individually very quickly, and are consumed faster, which makes them great for a quick heal on the go, but do not reset the bleedouts.
- 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, unless you took the Boozehound perk.
- 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.
- Epyx's Temple of Apshai had salves that can be purchased from the Innkeeper and restore a small portion of your health. There are also elixirs, which are more potent and can only be found in the dungeons.
- One of the Occupations of Ryzom involves going and collecting materials needed to create healing potions for characters. One potion is enough to restore a character to full health and give a temporary boost to their health regeneration speed.
- Super Mario RPG has various drink based items, such as Elixirs and KeroKeroColas, that can restore the party's HP and FP, alongside traditional Mario themed items like mushrooms.
- You can make these in your forge to instantly heal your dragons after attacks in War Dragons or occasionally get one while attacking an enemy base.
- Tippsie from Ittle Dew seems to be addicted to these. Although Ittle asks to have some in one dialogue sequence, they're not actually usable in the game.
- In Planet Explorers, the herbal juice items fill this niche.
- The Bayonetta series has the Green Herb lollipops to restore health, with the Mega Green Herb lollipops healing twice as much.
- In Holy Umbrella, you can buy healing potions in several strengths, though you have to find the bottles to put them in elsewhere.
- In the Max Payne games, the only way to increase Max's health is to take painkillers, so Max never actually heals any of the damage he takes during the game, he simply ignores the pain of his accumulated wounds. One wonders how he feels the next day!
- Due to its Dungeons & Dragons origins, The Order of the Stick has many people use healing potions, especially since it is the only method to heal oneself short of a cleric.
- Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater finds drinking the healing potions almost as bad as being wounded. They taste awful, like Coke. According to Red Mage, one does not have to drink the healing potion for it to take effect, as smashing glass bottle into the recipient's face works just as well.
- Are you from Blank It? Did you lose a hand? Grow it back with some handy "hand juice"! NOT recommended if you have NOT lost a hand. Also an unusual example because this seems to be the only kind of damage it heals.
- Bar'd: The Passion Of Tears Individual Open-wound Nullifier (or P.O.T.I.O.N) is one of the more popular drinks at the Leafy Bar. In addition to healing wounds, it also reverses the effects of most of the other beverages, including Cintreuse de Genre.
- In Dragon Mango, the strangers who find her have a potion for Mango.
- Awful Hospital: Within the Biovessel, it's vials of mucus. Once back in the hospital, it's a concoction imported from same biovessel, created by Dr. Staph.
- Slightly Damned has a five piece magic potion set called the Rainbow Reverie which the green potion is one of these, it's potent enough that a small dose can save someone from the brink of death. It's also the only one of the five potions that works for demons (and presumably angels) without unintended side effects.
- In Guts and Sass: An Anti-Epic rethor is a kind of healing potion distilled from the blood of the shapeshifting Lridrisy that catalyzes an impossibly fast healing process. Raw Lridrisy blood also has this property, but it is not as strong until condensed into rethor.
- Discussed in Cracked articles:
- 7 Video Game Healing Methods Least Likely to Actually Work
- The #22 Science Lesson As Taught by Famous Video Games is a medkit, and #9 is "Green Heart + Red Heart = Full Health".
- SCP Foundation, SCP-1300 ("Liquid Surgeon"). After SCP-1300 finishes its surgery, it pumps an unknown fluid into the patient's body that repairs damaged organs.
- 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.
- 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."
- Many healing drinks and salves are mentioned in the Renaissance-era text, "Culpeper's Complete Herbal". While not as fast or flashy as their fictional counterparts, the plants involved (blackberry and clown's woundwort, to name two) have been found to contain a chemical which speeds up cell replacement.