My PCs will find in a body of a half-orc an unmarked bottle with a potion of healing. What if they think that this is a poison which drows often use in my campaign? They would pour the bottle on their swords.

Does a potion of healing have a different effect if applied on an open wound, such as when the PCs slice enemies with it?

The potion of healing's description states:

You regain hit points when you drink this potion.

I assume that using it differently it has no effect, but maybe there is some information about it deeper. If not, I can always improvise, but maybe it's better to let it be with no effect.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For anyone wondering, "per os" means "orally; by mouth". Also, you should limit yourself to one question per post; I've edited out the secondary question about identifying a potion. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 6:53

1 Answer 1


RAW, the effects only apply when it is consumed "per os". (Emphasis mine).

You regain 2d4 + 2 Hit Points when you drink this potion


  • \$\begingroup\$ At least in previous versions they called out that it was the act of quaffing the potion that activated its magic. Even if you didn't have a digestive tract you could benefit, assuming you could benefit from healing magic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Raises an interesting question about what would happen if emptied several potions into a font and then held a monk's head under it. Would he get healed as he drowned? Sure, water is going into his mouth and down his throat, but is he drinking it? (I may ask this as a standalone question at a later date) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 15:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Woah, hold the phone - "A character who drinks the magical red fluid in this vial regains 2d4+2 hit points. Drinking or administering a potion takes an action" - I guess in my case I would be administering (or admonking hoho) the potion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanfaeScotland: There are optional potion-mixing rules in the DMG, though I don't know if they'd apply if you're "mixing" the same potions together. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 20:18

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