In legend a potion is a concoction used to heal, bewitch or poison people, made by a magician, sorcerer or witch. i.e., there can be cited love potions, intended to make a person fall in love with another, or potions for the opposite effect, intending that a person hate another. The love potion figures tragically into most versions the tale of Tristan and Iseult, including Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde.
Creation of potions of different kinds was a common practice of alchemy.
During the 19th Century it was common in certain countries to see wandering charlatans offering potions to heal every disease, ache, etc. These eventually gained reputations as quack medicines. In later years, these became replaced by/known as patent medicines.
Potions have been used in literature many times. For example in Harry Potter, Severus Snape is known as the potions master. He is one of the antagonists of the novel, perhaps symbolizing potions are evil. Potions have been known as evil and are used classically by witches gathering around a boiling cauldron.
Potions have also gained popularity as a standard item in role playing games, usually as a healing item. The availability of healing potions in the popular Final Fantasy series of games eventually resulted in the release of an actual beverage named “Potion” in Japan by Square Enix, the creators of Final Fantasy. Potions are also frequently made use of on the TV show Charmed.
A philter or philtre is a magical charm, usually a potion, that is said to have the power to cause its imbiber to fall in love with the person who gave it to them.