The Basic Rules/PHB say that an Herbalism Kit is required to create potions of healing. However, the crafting rules only allow you to make nonmagical items, and the description under Potion of Healing clearly says that it's a magical substance.

I don't see any feats or class features that allow you to create potions.

How do you use an Herbalism Kit to create a potion of healing?


Ok. This is a bit of a tricky one. Potions of Healing, while created of magical substance aren't actually considered magic items. Or are they.

They aren't magic items

Note, for instance, that they aren't listed as "magic items" in the DM book we've seen so far (BD&D DM Book pp 59-60, v.1). They are listed in the "Adventuring Gear" section of the Players book in basic (BD&D Players Book pp. 48-50 v.2).

In other words, potions of healing aren't magic items in the sense that we think of magic items. They're much, much more common and easily brewed. So following the crafting rules in the PHB should be just fine.

They are magic items

Note for instance they are listed as magic items in the Starter Set DM book (LMOP 53). The entry does say that they are a magical red fluid.

Also of note is the Adventurer's League instructions call them out as a specific magic item that can be purchased by adventurers, not subject to the normal lack of magic item economy in organized play games.

So where does this leave us? In a great deal of confusion on this issue until December. Largely this is because the crafting rules beyond the mundane have been left to DM discretion (with the possibility of further guidance in the DMG). So the answer to this question is, ultimately, if you're a player, discuss it with your DM. If you're a DM, talk to your players and make a ruling. Considering the free and easy access to healing potions, I think it makes sense to allow their crafting, but if you wanted to limit them, that would be a reason to make them hard to craft. Judge the tone of your campaign.

DMG Update

Potion brewing is covered under crafting magic items in the DMG. Under these rules, the potion's rarity determines the potency, but also the amount of time and money it requires to brew. Under these rules, a common healing potion (which normally can be bought for 50 gp), requires 4 days and 100 gp to craft (and cannot be crafted until 3rd level and even then only by a character with spell slots). This is probably not a sensible way to obtain healing potions without a house rule.

Xanathar's Update

Xanathar's Guide provides optional rules for crafting during downtime. In particular, the optional rules (XGE, p 130) under "Crafting an Item" state:

Potions of healing fall into a special category for item crafting, separate from other magic items. A character who has proficiency with the herbalism kit can create these potions. The times and costs for doing so are summarized on the Potion of Healing Creation table.

\$\begin{array}{|l|l|r|} \hline \textbf{Type} & \textbf{Time} & \textbf{Cost} \\ \hline \text{Healing} & 1\,\text{day} & 25\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Greater healing} & 1\,\text{workweek} & 100\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Superior healing} & 3\,\text{workweeks} & 1,000\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Supreme healing} & 4\,\text{workweeks} & 10,000\,\text{gp} \\ \hline \end{array} \$

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're overlooking the following line from page 135 of the DMG: "The value of a consumable item, such as a potion or scroll, is typically half the value of a permanent item of the same rarity." \$\endgroup\$ – stevecomrie Apr 5 '15 at 17:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that would make crafting feasible when none are available for purchase, given time. Seems like healing potions are sold at cost though, which is odd. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 17 '15 at 0:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the DMG rules apply to health potions, it's for things like potions of speed. The spirit of the PHB description is that they are sub-magical. Hence they cost half the price of a common magic item to buy and therefore 25gp to craft. There is still the time factor however, limiting the amount that players can create. But still - it's always the DM's world. \$\endgroup\$ – st33d Sep 18 '15 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the publication of XGE (and a UA), this answer is no longer complete. XGE contains rules specifically for brewing Potions of Healing. \$\endgroup\$ – Pilchard123 Feb 3 '18 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Potions of Healing ARE listed among the Magic Items in the Dungeon Master's Guide (see pp. 187–188). Perhaps the reason they are also listed in the Player's Handbook as you've noted is because they are common items and could likely be found easily in a market or from an artisan. \$\endgroup\$ – KSchank Dec 7 '18 at 23:04

There one general rule for making any potions. And additional one specific rule that applies to the making a Potion of Healing.

The first method is to look up the rarity of the potion then turn to pages 128 to 129 in the 5e Dungeon Master Guide. There you will find a minimum level needed by a spell caster to craft the potions along with the creation cost. The time to make the item will be the creation cost divided by 25.

For the potion of healing, it is a common magic items requiring that a 3rd level spellcaster craft it, costing 100 gp to make, and taking 4 caster days to make. Multiple character can cooperate in the making of a item or potion. Thus if you have four 3rd level casters, you can make a potion of healing in one days.

The other method is found in the PHB. In the Adventuring Gear price list a Potion of Healing cost 50 gp to buy. On page 154 under the Herbalism Kit it is stated that proficiency in the Herbalism Kit is required if one wants to craft a Potion of Healing (or a antitoxin). To find the crafting rules we turn to page 187 where under Downtime Activities we have rules for crafting. We find that a person proficient in the needed tools can craft items at a rate of 5 gp per day. A healing potions for a person proficient in the herbalist kit will take 10 day to make. You also have to pay a cost equal half the value of the item. In this case 25 gp. Like magic items multiple characters can participate to reduce the crafting time.

So you have two ways of making a Potion of Healing and one way of making every other potion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're overlooking the following line from page 135 of the DMG: "The value of a consumable item, such as a potion or scroll, is typically half the value of a permanent item of the same rarity." \$\endgroup\$ – stevecomrie Apr 5 '15 at 17:20

As per Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 129), potions of healing have their own creation rules and includes a table of crafting cost and time. Note a day is a workday or 8 hours.

Brewing Potions of Healing. Potions of healing fall into a special category for item crafting, separate from other magic items. A character who has proficiency with the herbalism kit can create these potions. The times and costs for doing so are summarized on the Potion of Healing Creation table.

\$\begin{array}{|l|l|r|} \hline \textbf{Type} & \textbf{Time} & \textbf{Cost} \\ \hline \text{Healing} & 1\,\text{day} & 25\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Greater healing} & 1\,\text{workweek} & 100\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Superior healing} & 3\,\text{workweeks} & 1000\,\text{gp} \\ \text{Supreme healing} & 4\,\text{workweeks} & 10000\,\text{gp} \\ \hline \end{array} \$

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for adding that V2blast I didn't have access to a digital copy. \$\endgroup\$ – John Jul 26 '18 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem! I basically copied the table formatting from another post and edited the contents :P \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 26 '18 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ This table doesn't make sense. Prices of superior healing potion is 500gp, and supreme healing potion is 5000gp. Was there some sort of errata? \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama Feb 10 '19 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Momonga-sama the price of a superior healing potion is as a rare magic item, thus anywhere between 501gp and 5000gp. Only the regular healing potion has a standard price. Based on the chart I would not be selling it for less than a 1000gp even at a temple. \$\endgroup\$ – John Feb 28 '19 at 17:24

Confirmed by Jeremy Crawford.

  • Potions of Healing are magical items, and crafted using the magical item crafting rules in the DMG.
  • As well as the requirements listed under the magic item crafting rules, you also need a herbalism kit and proficiency in it to make potions of healing.
  • The kit and proficiency are required, but they are not sufficient on their own to make potions of healing.
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Despite the implication in the herbalism kit description that potions of healing and antidotes can be created via the kit, the PHB crafting rules under downtime activity are clearly reserved for non-magical items. The PHB indicates a potion of healing is a magic item; it is italicized for this reason in the list of adventuring gear as well as explicitly called a "magical red fluid" in is description. Although the DMG rules for crafting a magic item provide a way for spell casters to create the potion, a little bit of common sense should also be considered here.

Several points of fact that make the healing potion an exception to a standard magic item as well as to other potions:

  • It has an effect that conveys no exceptional or special abilities to the imbiber.

  • If a healing potion has a 50 gp price tag and can be bought as a standard item in the game, it could not possibly require the same rare ingredients and secretive, exacting methods to create as other types of potions that are only available at much greater cost, if at all.

  • Given the amount of damage being dealt by unlimited cantrips and low-level spells in the game, and the ease with which multiple classes can effect healing in a quasi-magical manner (fighter's second wind, barbarian's relentless rage, monk's wholeness of body), it flies in the face of game balance that a character versed in healing arts would need to spend a huge amount of downtime to craft a healing potion that restores no more hit points on average than a first level spell cast by an average cleric. This is especially true for a spell caster with healing spells at his/her disposal and has spent a proficiency on the herbalism kit specifically in order to gain the ability to craft potions of healing. We are talking about a character who has spent a great deal of time studying, practicing, and perfecting healing, who with a mere touch can stabilize or heal creatures, crafting easily the least powerful of any magic item.

My house rule is this: Characters capable of casting any type of healing magic (including Goodberry) as a spell (bard, cleric, druid, paladin, ranger), upon obtaining the level that they can first cast a healing spell, may expend one use of the herbalism kit to attempt to create a healing potion or specific poison antidote during a continuous 24-hour period of downtime (this time is in addition to time spent accomplishing a long rest). The character must first gather or purchase rare herbs of 25 gp value as ingredients. The character must then roll a WIS Medicine check at DC13 at the end of the downtime period to successfully create one healing potion. A character can do this only once during any period of downtime, regardless of how long the downtime lasts.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It is important, on this site, that answers to subjective questions be backed up – for instance, by describing your experience with the proposed solution. It sounds like you have used this houserule – great! Please tell us how it worked out. I’ve already upvoted this answer, but even a little bit about how it has actually worked for you would make it even better. Check out the Tour for other tips about writing great answers, and when you get another upvote (or otherwise hit 20 rep), feel free to join the Role-playing Games Chat! \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 9 '15 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi KRyan, I will be glad to add an anecdote testimonial when I in fact see how the house rule turns out. I just made it today. I wanted to share my reasoning for others to consider, since the 5e rules are so new that there hasn't been much time to accumulate experience using them. \$\endgroup\$ – wyldwyzyrd Mar 9 '15 at 2:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any update? Have you had a chance to evaluate this house rule in action since? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 17 '15 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth updating this answer to note that Xanathar's added mechanics for those with herbalism kit proficiency to craft healing potions. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 26 '18 at 21:57

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