Taking Inventory: Potion

Hubble, bubble, toil, and trouble

Psst, hey you. What if I told you you could breathe underwater? Or see in the dark? Or turn invisible? Or walk unharmed through fire? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well, it just so happens that a little sip of our item of the week can allow you to do all those things and more. Not in real life, silly – in Minecraft. It’s the potion, and quite honestly it tastes disgusting. Or so I've heard.

Potions were first added to Minecraft in the Adventure Update, better known as Minecraft 1.0.0. Initially, they were brewed in cauldrons, through a complicated system that involved tossing in ingredients one at a time. But it was pretty confusing, so the brewing stand was implemented instead.

There are several ways to obtain potions. Brewing is the most obvious – by combining various ingredients with a water bottle in the aforementioned brewing stand. But you can also find them in chests, trade them with wandering traders or piglins, or hunt down witches – which drop them on death.

There are lots of potions available – regeneration, healing, swiftness, fire resistance, strength, leaping, water breathing, invisibility, slow falling, turtle master and luck all have positive effects on the living. But there are also poison, weakness, slowness, harming, and decay potions that harm their drinker.

To use a potion, hold it in your hand and hit use. It’s that easy. But wait – don’t drink it yet. Instead, try surrounding a lingering potion with arrows in a crafting grid to get tipped arrows, which bestow the effect you choose on whatever you hit with that arrow. Finally, in Bedrock Edition you can also use a potion on a cauldron to fill it up. A cauldron will hold up to three identical potions, allowing you to save them for later.

In the real world, the word “potion” comes from the Latin word “potus”, which refers to a drink, or drinking, and people have been making and selling potions for millennia. 

Common potion types include love potions (which supposedly cause the drinker to fall in love), restorative potions (which cure various ailments), immortality potions (which grant eternal youth), sleeping potions (which send the drinker to sleep), hallucinogenic potions (which induce visions), and poisons (which harm the drinker). 

Most of these potions don’t work, or rely on the placebo effect, but a small handful does and we generally call those “medicine”. If you’ve ever taken cough syrup for a chest infection, or sipped a cup of chamomile tea to help you calm down or sleep, then you’ve drunk a potion.

Luckily, Minecraft’s potions are a lot more effective. No placebo effect here. So get brewing, and enjoy better living through chemistry.

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere