In mythology and literature, a potion is usually made by a magician, dragon, fairy or witch and has magical properties. It is used for various motives including the healing, bewitching or poisoning of people. For example, love potions for those who wish to fall in love (or become deeply infatuated) with another; sleeping potions to cause long-term or eternal sleep (in folklore, this can range from the normal REM sleep to a deathlike coma); and elixirs to heal/cure any wound/malady.
During the 19th century, it was common in certain countries to see wandering charlatans offering curative potions. These were eventually dismissed as quackery.
In modern fantasy, potions are often portrayed as spells in liquid form, capable of causing a variety of effects, including healing, amnesia, infatuation, transformation, invisibility, and invulnerability.
- John Grant and John Clute, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, "Potions", p 779