"I went into the girl's bathroom just before I came in here and there were about a dozen girls in there, including that Romilda Vane , trying to decide how to slip you a love potion. They're all hoping they're going to get you to take them to Slughorn's party, and thay all seem to have bought Fred and George's love potions, which I'm afraid to say probably work"
-- Hermione Granger to Harry (HBP15)
A love potion is a concoction which produces strong infatuation. A love potion does not really causes the person who drinks it to fall in love with someone, as it is impossible to manufacture or imitate love. A love potion simply causes the drinker to develop a powerful infatuation or obsession with the target (HBP9). As Dumbledore states:
The search for a true love potion continues to this day, but no such elixir has yet been created, and leading potioneers doubt that it is possible (TBB/WHH).
The effect of a love potion varies depending on a number of factors:
“There you go,” said Fred proudly. “Best range of love potions you’ll find anywhere.”
Ginny raised an eyebrow skeptically. “Do they work?” she asked.
“Certainly they work, for up to twenty-four hours at a time depending on the weight of the boy in question…”
“… and the attractiveness of the girl,” said George, reappearing suddenly at their side (HBP6).
Clearly, the duration of the effects of a love potion vary depending on such factors as the weight of the person drinking the potion and the attractiveness of the person with whom the potion is supposed to make the drinker obsessed (HBP6). The effects of a love potion wear off naturally over time, but can be renewed by administering further doses of potion (HBP10). A love potion can be administered so that the consumer becomes obsessed with the target even if the target is not present when the love potion is consumed (HBP18). The effects of an item spiked with love potion can strengthen the longer the item is kept before consumption (HBP18). After an antidote to a love potion is consumed, it seems that the drinker does not forget what he or she did while under its influence, which can be terribly embarrassing (HBP18).
Many love potions were invented by Laverne de Montmorency in the 1800s (FW).
Ingredients can include pearl dust (CC4.5) and frozen Ashwinder eggs (FB). Rose petals and even thorns can be used in the creation of love potions:
Rose Petals - There are over a hundred species in the genus Rosa. Wizards and Muggles alike have been breeding garden roses for thousands of years. Thorn: Some love potions use more thorns instead of rose petals, although I personally have found the effects of these potions tend to be brief and somewhat unstable (BoP).
References from the canon
- On Valentine's Day, 1992 , Lockhart suggested that in the spirit of the occasion students should ask Snape how to make a love potion (CS13)
- Love potions are banned at Hogwarts (GF27), but as Hermione once pointed out, "When has anyone ever paid attention to what Filch has banned?" (HBP15)
- Mrs. Weasley once told Hermione and Ginny about a love potion she had made as a young girl (PA5)
- Frozen Ashwinder eggs (see) may be used as ingredients in love potions (FB)
- Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes sell powerful love potions as part of their WonderWitch products line (HBP6). As part of their Owl Order Service, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes delivers such products disguised as more innocent items, such as perfumes and cough potions, a fact they make clear on the products' own labels (HBP9).
Pretty much every scenario involving Love Potions is a female character using one to entice attract a male character. The only exception is when Rita Skeeta suspects Bill Weasley of using one on Fleur in Skeeta's gossip articles covering during the 2014 Quidditch World Cup (Pm:QWC)