Lesson 8) Oooh La La

Professor Baine is sitting at her desk, a large stack of papers in front of her. She is working quietly through them, focused on the task at hand. On the chalkboard behind her is written a complicated chemical formula.

She looks up as she hears students filing in, smiling and setting her spectacles on the stack of papers. “Come in, dears! So good to see you again. I trust you’re all well and ready to learn.” She steps out from around the desk, gazing fondly at her students. “We’re nearing the end of the year, I’m sure you’re all excited for vacation! Please do try to stay focused these next two classes, however. We have a rather exciting lesson today, if I do say so myself.”

***

Now, don’t get scared of what’s on the board! I know it looks frightening, but we won’t be going in depth about the chemical formula.

Today we’re discussing love and the potion Amortentia. For those of you unfamiliar, it is said to be the most powerful love potion in the world! We’ll get more into that at the end of the lesson, however. For now, we must discuss what exactly love is!

I’m sure you’ve all felt it. Either love for your parents, for another family member, friends, or even romantic love towards your partner. There are many different forms of love! So much, even, that in other languages there are multiple words for it. English is one of the few languages that only has one word to describe all forms of love.

Now, what exactly is love? According to the dictionary it is an intense feeling of deep affection. That’s not very specific, though! The thing is, it’s really hard to nail down a definition or description of love. It feels different to each person. Some say that it’s the butterflies in your stomach when you see someone. Others describe it as the feeling of pure, unfiltered joy that you get looking at the object of your love. Others describe it as a calm feeling. Ask anyone and you’re almost certain to get a different answer! I asked a few people and will include their descriptions below:

  • “Sometimes me think; what is love? And then me think love is what the last chocolate cookie is for. Me give up the last cookie for you.”
  • The opening scene from Up.
  • Love is bearing an inconvenience to be more convenient to another. It’s losing something to watch another gain and grow. It is showing you care in the most difficult circumstances.

Isn’t it interesting to see how different people view love? Now, if you break it down, love actually is a release of specific chemicals in the brain! These are phenylethylamine (PEA), norepinephrine, dopamine, and oxytocin! Serotonin is also released, though in smaller doses. Please look back at your previous notes, as we won’t go into detail on serotonin again today.

PEA is the neurochemical that causes the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. It’s produced naturally within the brain when we start to develop feelings for someone! It’s also found in certain foods, like chocolate and oysters. That’s why these foods are said to be romantic. This neurochemical is mostly present during the time in which one begins to fall in love. It causes the giddy feeling in the beginning of relationships!

Norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline and thus produces similar effects. This means that it can cause sweaty palms and a pounding heart! I’m sure you’ve all experienced this in instances of looking at someone you love.

Dopamine is more associated with the selection of someone as a partner. When certain traits are found, depending on the person, it causes a release of dopamine that makes this person more appealing as a partner. It’s also dopamine that causes the release of our next chemical, oxytonic.

Oxytocin is the chemical you see written up on the board. This neurochemical has been nicknamed the ‘cuddle hormone’. While present in both genders, in women it has even more effects. In everyone, oxytocin is released in touching, hence it’s nickname! Unrelated specifically to love, this is  released during labor and when breastfeeding. Now, have you ever heard someone say that they felt like they were going through a withdrawal period if having to be away from their partner for long periods of time? That’s caused by the withdrawal of oxytocin when you’re no longer able to touch or hug your partner. People aren’t always exaggerating when they say this! This lack of the neurochemical when one is used to it can actually cause uncomfortable symptoms.

Everyone knows that love potions exist within our community. They may be some of the most popular selling potions in shops. Everyone wants to be loved, to be cherished. These potions can cause the effects ranging from just mild infatuation to major obsession, such as the case with Amortentia. Love potions can be disastrous if made incorrectly and then consumed, but most aren’t incredibly hard to brew. These potions began being sold in the 1800s by Laverne de Montmorency. He invented a wide variety of different love potions which really lifted the market for these. Of course, there are love potions dating all the way back to the Salem Witch Trial days.

We all know that there are a variety of them. Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes sold four different ones within their own shop that were created by the Weasley Twins. They are almost always consumed in food or drink, often hidden there by the brewer in order to get the object of their affection to consume it and return their feelings. Of course, as you all know, these potions are banned here in the castle! Please know that anyone who is caught with a love potion will receive detention with myself, scrubbing out the First Year cauldrons. That doesn’t sound like fun, now does it? No, good. Then let’s make sure we follow this rule.

It’s important to notice that love potions don’t actually cause love. Even Amortentia, the greatest love potion yet to be made, doesn’t create actual love. It only creates a mere imitation, a facade if you will, of love. At best, a complete obsession. It’s dangerous to enter a relationship under these pretenses. For instance, let us look at the relationship with Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Senior (Snr). Yes, I’m sure you all know exactly where I’m going with this! Merope Gaunt slipped Tom Riddle Snr a love potion to win his affections. Through this obsession, the two conceived a child. As soon as Merope stopped giving Mr Riddle the potion, he ran off. The product of their relationship, Tom Riddle Junior (Jr), or, more commonly, Voldemort, was born unable to love. Some wonder if the events of his life would have happened had he not been conceived in an act of coercion, but rather in genuine love. We may never know. As you can see, though, children born under the effects of a love potion are likely unable to love at all. This can cause extreme effects to a personality. I don’t think any of us want to test again what might happen with a child born this way.

Now! Let us get to the particular love potion in discussion today, Amortentia! Let’s begin with the characteristics of the potion itself. This potion has a mother-of-pearl color to it, almost reflective. It steams the same color, with the fumes taking a distinctive spiralling pattern as they move away from the potion. These are all very indicative of this potion. The one thing, however, that is most unique, is the scent. Amortentia smells different to every person. They will smell the things they find to be the most attractive to them. For instance, when I smell Amortentia, I smell the ocean, old books, and black currant tea. It is said that Hermione Granger smelled new parchment, fresh cut grass, spearmint toothpaste, and Ron Weasley’s hair when she smelled this potion back during her school days. What do you think you would smell? Why don’t we find out! Everyone, please step up and take a moment to smell the potion in front of you.

Let’s get on to brewing the potion. The first we need to discuss is the process of diffusion, as you’ll have to use it to prep one of the ingredients, rose water! Diffusion is the process in which a substance fills out its container. For instance, when you spray air freshener in the air and its scent slowly spreads throughout the air. It’s diffused throughout the air! In this case, small particles in the rose petals are diffusing throughout the water, lending the water the properties of the rose.

Now, to make the rose water. This is created by soaking fresh rose petals in purified water for at least seventy two hours. This allows the water to gain the properties of the rose through the diffusion.

Amortentia

Estimated Brew Time:

Pewter Cauldron: 42 minutes

Brass Cauldron: 36 minutes

Copper Cauldron: 31 minutes

Ingredients:

2 Ashwinder eggs

4 Rose thorns

1 Peppermint leaf

3 teaspoons Powdered Moonstone

1 tablespoon Pearl Dust

100 mL Rose water

Instructions

Part 1:

  1. Add 100 mL of rose water to your caultron
  2. Bring to 383 Kelvin (120°C/248°F) in your Pewter for 12 minutes (This will brew for 10 minutes in a Brass cauldron and for 9 in a Copper cauldron).
  3. Crack the ashwinder eggs, adding them to the cauldron
  4. Crush the shells in your mortar and pestle and add them to the cauldron.
  5. Add the rose thorns to the cauldron
  6. Leave at 383 Kelvin (120°C/248°F) in your Pewter cauldron for 26 minutes (This will brew for 23 minutes in a Brass cauldron and for 20 in a Copper cauldron).

At this point, your potion should be a light pink color. There will be no smoke emission. It would smell of lemon and honey.

Part 2:

  1. All the powdered moonstone to your cauldron.
  2. Stir four times anti-clockwise with your wand.
  3. Lower the heat to 363 Kelvin (90°C/194°F) in your Pewter cauldron for 4 minutes. (This will brew for 3 minutes in a Brass cauldron and 2 minutes in a Copper cauldron).
  4. Add the pearl dust to your cauldron.
  5. Stir two times clockwise with your wand.

Your potion should be a cream color now, with a mother of pearl sheen! It should have an iridescent cream colored smoke coming from it that rises in a spiralled pattern. As far as scent goes, it varies from person to person based on what they like!

To Store:

This potion can be stored in any temperature. It should be kept out of light, but it isn’t light sensitive enough to need a tinted vial. It will react badly if stored next to anything with the ingredient wormwood in it, so please be careful of this!

To Use:

This potion is to be consumed orally. It can easily be mixed with a drink or sweets. It should not be used in more than a 5 mL increment, as it can make the consumer sick.

With that, I hope to see successful brews of Amortentia from all of you! Until next class!

Welcome to Fifth Year Potions! This year we will be discussing and exploring potions relating to Psychology and the mind. I look forward to seeing you in the dungeons! Enroll