A potion (from Latin potio "drink") is a liquid "that contains medicine, poison, or something that is supposed to have magic powers.” It derives from the Latin word potus which referred to a drink or drinking. The term philtre is also used, often specifically for a love potion, a potion that is supposed to create feelings of love or attraction in the one who drinks it.Throughout history there have been several types of potions for a range of purposes. Reasons for taking potions ranged from curing an illness, to securing immortality to trying to induce love. These potions, while often ineffective or poisonous, occasionally had some degree of medicinal success depending on what they sought to fix and the type and amount of ingredients used. Some popular ingredients used in potions across history include Spanish fly, nightshade plants, cannabis and opium.During the 17th to 19th century, it was common in Europe to see peddlers offering potions for ailments ranging from heartbreak to the plague. These were eventually dismissed as quackery. Individuals unable to afford to buy a potion at an apothecary or from a peddler could go to their local herbalist (often labeled a witch) in their village, or a female member of their household. Prostitutes, courtesans, enchanters and midwives were also known to distribute potions.

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