Common in older folklore, the Elixir of Life is a stock element of Magic which grants renewed life to whoever drinks it. This may range from Panacea to a true Immortality Inducer that doubles as a Fountain of Youth. Indeed, in cases where an example of said Fountain is not inherently magical, its properties come from the fact that it is Elixir of Life springing from it as opposed to water.
Unlike the Fountain of Youth's waters (except for overlaps between the two tropes), the Elixir of Life must usually be drunk to take effect, rather than bathed in.
Said to be related to the Philosopher's Stone in alchemical lore, though this was not always its origins in myths and legends. No Immortal Inertia and/or Rapid Aging are likely to occur if a repeated user stops taking elixir.
- In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #3, Indy meets an alchemist by the name of Prospero and his grandson. Prospero claims to have brewed an elixir of immortality, and to be 400 years old while his grandson is 200. By the end of the story, Indy is convinced.
- Spirou and Fantasio: The "spilling from the Fountain of Youth" variety is the macguffin in The Man Who Did Not Want to Die. The titular Man is an old adventurer called Tanzafio who found the Fountain of Youth and brought back copious amounts of its waters (the Elixir) in large bottles. Decades later what remained of his supplies is actually lost and he has to return to the Fountain in time before ever-fastening Rapid Aging gets him...
- In Legacy (Sekiro/Kimetsu no Yaiba), Tamayo gives Wolf regular doses of a medicine developed by her grandfather Dogen to keep Wolf alive in his vigil over the Mortal Blade. As a result, Wolf no longer needs to eat, drink, or sleep to survive, nor will he age or sicken so long as he continues taking the drug. However, he falls short of Complete Immortality in that he can still be slain, which is a comfort to him, as he shudders to think about the possibility of an unkillable Shura should he ever give into his innate urges.
- In The Man Who Could Cheat Death, Georges Bonnet is maintaining his eternal youth by having his parathyroid glands replaced every ten years. If the transplant is delayed for some reason, he can keep his youth by drinking an elixir made from the gland; usually harvested from unwilling victims.
- The Birthmark: Aylmer admits that such a potion would be possible, although he believes that it would be an imbalance in nature for it to be used.
- L Elixir De Longue Vie tells the story of how the father of Don Juan note obtained a phial of Elixir of Long Life that, if rubbed over his freshly-dead body, could restore him to life. The dying man tells Don Juan to use it on him without specifying how. Juan starts to fulfill his dead father's last request but never for a moment believes it will work. When Juan Senior's head starts to twitch, Don Juan is so terrified that he drops the phial, leaving half of his father's body a corpse. Weirdness ensues.
- L Elixir De Vie, a 1890 French fantasy novel, invokes the trope as a Red Herring. It is thought to be the mysterious Mr Vincent's source of immortality before the twist that he is actually a Life Drinker who sucks out children's life force.
- Harry Potter:
- The Elixir of Life is mentioned in the series, where it is created (by methods unknown) from a Philosopher's Stone. This version of the Elixir gives health and youth to whoever drinks it, but has to be drunk regularly, as the body will start aging again after each rejuvenation. In the first book, Lord Voldemort mostly seeks the Philosopher's Stone because he wants to use the Elixir to remake a body for himself, hinting there may still be more the Elixir can do.
- Unicorn's blood also functions as a dark counterpart to the Elixir of Life: drinking it can somehow stave off imminent death by malady, but it carries a curse that will make the body even weaker in the long run. Elixir of Life is said to counteract this curse, though this may just have been a lie Voldemort told Quirrel to get him to go along with drinking Unicorn's Blood.
- The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Elixir is the source of the titular Flamel's immortality. In this version, it is a mystical drink whose recipe is different each month, with the new formulas being found in the self-updating Codex of Abraham the Mage, a mystical tome in Flamel's possession.
- Starless: The rhamanthus seeds, when empowered by Anamuht, grant a year of youth and vitality. The House of the Ageless keeps the harvest; King Azarkal has ruled for 300 years. One cannot live forever, however, and in Khai's time, Azarkal's family has grown large, Anamuht's blessings are rarer, and the seeds are running out.
- In Doctor Who, the Sisterhood of Karn are guardians of the Elixir of Eternal Life, as seen in "The Brain of Morbius" and "The Night of the Doctor".
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Last Defender of Camelot", Merlin has Lancelot give him an elixir of life after he awakens from his 1,000 years of sleep so that he can regain his strength. After Merlin removes the enchantment granting Lancelot immortality, Lancelot drinks the rest of the elixir as he has learned caution in his extremely long life and suspected that Merlin might betray him.
- Chinese Mythology:
- In traditional Chinese myth, a white rabbit that lives on the Moon knows the secret to creating an elixir that grants eternal life, which it produces by grinding various ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.
- The archer Houyi once shot down the nine suns that were overheating the earth, and was given the elixir of immortality as a reward. However, he wanted to share it with his wife Chang'e, but (depending on the version) she drank it herself/was forced to drink it, and fled to the moon to escape her husband.
- Historically, a common pursuit of Chinese alchemists during the imperial period was the attempted creation of an elixir which would grant eternal life if drunk. This research instead led to a lot of people dying:
- The most common avenue of "research" for ancient Chinese alchemists involved cinnabar and mercury. For reasons partly mystical and partly unknown, they believed that mercury was their best shot at immortality, and got many powerful people—including several emperors—to believe them. For nearly 2,000 years—from the first emperor of a united China, Qin Shi Huangdi, in the third century BCE, to an emperor of the very last Chinese imperial dynasty in the 18th century CE—the alchemists somehow managed to kill at least a dozen emperors and many others besides with the same mercury-based elixirs (and driving them all mad as hatters in the process).
- Another group of alchemists ditched the cinnabar for a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter with the hope that it would either grant extended life or transmute materials. Instead, it made a big boom—it was the first gunpowder.
- Hindu Mythology: According to Hindu myth, Amrita — the nectar of life that grants immortality to those who drink it — was created when the gods and demons churned the ocean with a mountain, using the king of the nagas as a rope to move the peak. Amrita was brought to the surface by the churning, and the gods drunk it and obtained eternal life. The demons would have drunk it as well, but the gods managed to trick them and deny them the elixir of immortality.
- Mande Mythology: Wild ngoyo tomatoes rejuvenate those who eat them.
- Much like their Chinese counterparts, many European alchemists in the Middle Ages sought to create the elixir of life. Often, this was done in parallel with attempting to create the Philosopher's Stone, as the ability to create the elixir of life was one of the many powers given to the mythical stone. A number of historical and pseudo-historical figures, such as Nicolas Flamel and St. Germain, were said to have created the Stone and the associated Elixir, and to have lived for centuries as a result.
- Arduin: Every midnight, the Silver Chalice of Life fills with a mead that adds one day to the drinker's life. Consequently, its owner will have unending life as long as they possess the Chalice and drink from it daily.
- Dungeons & Dragons: AD&D 1st/2nd Edition had two versions of this.
- Drinking a Potion of Longevity reduces the drinker's age by 1-12 years. However, each time one is drunk there's a 1% cumulative chance that the effect will be reversed, causing the drinker to become their true age. If this happens to someone who's extremely old, they can die of Rapid Aging on the spot.
- Drinking an Elixir of Youth causes the drinker to become 2-5 years younger, with no chance of side effects.
- Pathfinder: The sun orchid elixir will restore its drinker's physical age to that of its species' young adults, allowing potentially unending life if drunk once every few decades. Because of this, and because the secret of its making is a closely kept secret and sun orchids are vanishingly rare, it's far and away the most expensive and desired product in Golarion.
- Ksiaze I Tchorz: Galador finds a flask of this stuff.. in Arivald's grave.
- In Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Rayman meets a sick-looking Clark at the Menhir Hills. Clark explains to Rayman that he must have swallowed something bad for him, and he needs a life potion, hidden near the entrance of the Marshes of Awakening, in a place called The Cave of Bad Dreams. Jano, the guardian of the Cave of Bad Dreams, won't let you in if you don't know its name. After defeating Jano, Rayman returns to the Menhir Hills with the elixir, and Clark is back to his normal self.
- Stellaris: An event chain allows the discovery of an elixir of life. Production capacity is not enough to significantly raise the lifespan of the entire population, so you have to choose between distributing it anyway (which raises population happiness) or restricting it to your leaders (which increases your empire's "leader lifespan" properly, so you can keep experienced leaders longer).
- Touhou: This shows up twice:
- Eirin Yagokoro came up with the Hourai elixir, which induces complete Resurrective Immortality in the drinker after three sips (the first prevents aging, the second prevents disease), and was banished to Earth from the Moon along with Kaguya. When Kaguya left the Earth, she left the elixir behind and he Emperor ordered it destroyed, but Mokou (whose father had been humiliated by Kaguya's Impossible Task) stole it and drank it herself.
- Junko launched an invasion of the moon to get revenge on Chang'e (her son was killed by one of the suns shot down by her husband Houyi), unaware that the Lunarians had imprisoned her for drinking the Hourai elixir as well.
- In The Dragon Doctors the Fountain of Youth was reverse-engineered to mass-produce rejuvenation potions, with a safety installed so that the furthest back one can be de-aged is to babyhood (the original fountain having no living thing within miles because of this loophole). The potion, detached from the Fountain, is not referred to as Elixir of Life but otherwise fits this trope to a T.
- Disenchantment: The Elixir of Life is used as an important MacGuffin. Princess Bean's father, King Zog, is one of several humans who wants to obtain the Elixir, which is said to be derived from the blood of an elf; he allows Bean's friend Elfo to live in the castle, in exchange for him being used as a guinea pig for magical experiments. Zog's plan is to use the Elixir to resurrect his petrified first wife Dagmar, which eventually succeeds.