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Skill: Alchemy

Alchemy is the art of brewing potions and poisons by combining ingredients with matching effects, using an Alchemy Lab. Initially, you don't know the effects of ingredients and must discover them by eating ingredients, reading recipes, or brewing them into potions.

Some NPCs (notably alchemists) may offer you basic recipes while conversing. Perks in this skill allow discovering more effects by eating; increase the effectiveness of created potions and poisons; remove the positive effects from poisons and the negative effects from potions; and allow you to gather twice as many ingredients from plants. The alchemy skill tree has 9 perks, requiring 15 perk points to fill. Each level in the alchemy skill increases the effectiveness of crafted potions and poisons by 0.5% for +50% effectiveness at level 100 compared to level 0.


In-game Description: An alchemist can create magical potions and deadly poisons.

Alchemy is a useful complement to any character style. The most basic potions restore Health, Magicka or Stamina, while poisons cause weapons to inflict greater damage. With a more thorough understanding of the ingredients, you can brew formulas which produce the effects of many magic spells and enchantments. While many potions are available for sale, knowledge of alchemy gives you more flexible, and potentially more powerful, potions than can be bought. Unlike in previous Elder Scrolls games, you cannot carry around alchemy apparatus and make potions on demand, but may only do this at an Alchemy Lab.

Skill Perks[edit]

Alchemy Perk Tree
Alchemist (5 ranks): 0/20/40/60/80 Alchemy. Potions and poisons you make are 20/40/60/80/100% stronger.
Physician: 20 Alchemy. Potions you mix that restore Health, Magicka or Stamina are 25% more powerful.
Benefactor: 30 Alchemy. Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude.
Experimenter (3 ranks): 50/70/90 Alchemy. Eating an ingredient reveals first two/first three/all its effects.
Purity: 100 Alchemy. All negative effects are removed from created potions, and all positive effects are removed from created poisons.
Poisoner: 30 Alchemy. Poisons you mix are 25% more effective.
Concentrated Poison: 60 Alchemy. Poisons applied to weapons last for twice as many hits.
Concentrated Poison
Green Thumb: 70 Alchemy. Two ingredients are gathered from plants.
Green Thumb
Snakeblood: 80 Alchemy. 50% resistance to all poisons.
Alchemy Perk Tree
Perk Rank Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Alchemist 1 Potions and poisons you make are 20% stronger. 000be127
2 Potions and poisons you make are 40% stronger. 000c07ca 20 Alchemy
3 Potions and poisons you make are 60% stronger. 000c07cb 40 Alchemy
4 Potions and poisons you make are 80% stronger. 000c07cc 60 Alchemy
5 Potions and poisons you make are twice as strong. 000c07cd 80 Alchemy
Physician Potions you mix that restore Health, Magicka or Stamina are 25% more powerful. 00058215 20 Alchemy Alchemist
Benefactor Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude. 00058216 30 Alchemy Physician
Experimenter 1 Eating an ingredient reveals first two effects. 00058218 50 Alchemy Benefactor
2 Eating an ingredient reveals first three effects. 00105f2a 70 Alchemy
3 Eating an ingredient reveals all its effects. 00105f2b 90 Alchemy
Poisoner Poisons you mix are 25% more effective. 00058217 30 Alchemy Physician
Concentrated Poison Poisons applied to weapons last for twice as many hits. 00105f2f 60 Alchemy Poisoner
Green Thumb Two ingredients are gathered from plants. 00105f2e 70 Alchemy Concentrated Poison
Snakeblood 50% resistance to all poisons. 00105f2c 80 Alchemy Experimenter or Concentrated Poison
Purity All negative effects are removed from created potions, and all positive effects are removed from created poisons. 0005821d 100 Alchemy Snakeblood
Green thumbs also get extra ingredients from crops, egg nests, barnacle clusters, and other objects, but not from creatures, passive creatures, nirnroot plants, or Hearthfire planters (see bugs).
Prior to Patch 1.9, the prerequisite perk for Purity was only Experimenter, even though the perk tree indicated Snakeblood was needed.

Skill Usage[edit]

An alchemy lab

Alchemy can only be performed at designated alchemy labs.

To create a potion (or poison) you must combine two or three ingredients which share a magical effect. If the shared effect is a beneficial one (e.g., Restore Health), you create a potion; if the shared effect is a negative one (e.g., Damage Health), you create a poison. Multiple-effect potions can be created if the combined ingredients have more than one effect in common. A list of some useful craftable potions is provided at Useful Potions.

Each ingredient has a total of four available effects. Eating the ingredient always allows you to discover an ingredient's first effect; the Experimenter perk causes additional effects to be discovered when you consume an ingredient. Additional effects can be discovered by experimenting to see what ingredient combinations successfully yield potions. When an ingredient is selected, it will grey out all other ingredients where a combination has previously been attempted and failed. Unlike in Oblivion, your Alchemy level does not affect which effects you can discover or use. When an effect has been identified, the effect will be listed in the Alchemy menu screen, allowing you to sort ingredients by effect.

Your Alchemy skill level, Alchemy perks, and Fortify Alchemy enchantments determine the strength of any potions or poisons that you create (see Alchemy Effects for details). In turn, mixing potions/poisons leads to Alchemy skill increases. The effects of multiple Fortify Skill potions generally do not stack; if you already have a Fortify Enchanting potion in your system, there is no benefit to drinking another. The exception to this rule is Fortify Restoration potions; since Restoration governs all Skills, a Fortify Restoration potion will reinforce any Fortify <Skill> potion if drunk together.


Result = fAlchemyIngredientInitMult x BaseMag x SkillMult x Alchemist Perk[1.0 to 2.0] x Benefactor Perk[1.25] x Physician Perk[1.25] x Poisoner Perk[1.25] x Sum of Enchantments[1.0+] x Seeker of Shadows[1.1]

  • fAlchemyIngredientInitMult: 4
  • fAlchemySkillFactor: 1.5
  • BaseMag: Alchemy effect base magnitude
  • SkillMult: 1 + (fAlchemySkillFactor - 1) x Skill / 100

If result < 0, then result = BaseMag


Identifying Effects[edit]

  • You can try various recipes found in-game, or you can simply mix ingredients together randomly. A more effective strategy is to notice commonalities between ingredients. Those that grow near each other often have similar effects (such as Purple Mountain Flower + Thistle, or Lavender + Red Mountain Flower + Tundra Cotton). Insects that feed on flowers often have the same effects. Similarities between names (such as, "Frost" and "Snow") also provide a hint. Placement of ingredients in kitchens and display shelves usually indicate they combine with nearby ingredients.
  • The Experimenter perk does not actually change anything about the ingredients or potions created; all effects are available from all ingredients regardless of the effects known. At a cost of 3 skill points at max rank plus the 3 prerequisite points, Experimenter is a very expensive perk with very little payoff.
    • After the 1.9 patch, skills can now be made Legendary, resetting each perk in that skill tree and returning all skill points. Experimenter can be used to gain knowledge of every ingredient, then the perk can be reset without forgetting those effects.
    • Dragonborn adds a similar skill tree reset ability after you complete At the Summit of Apocrypha.
  • The lists below are sets of potion recipes that will efficiently reveal all four effects of every ingredient up through the Hearthfire add-on. This list has not been updated to include ingredients from the following creations: Fishing, Goblins, Plague of the Dead, Rare Curios, Saints & Seducers, and The Cause. Each list has a title with the ingredients it includes; the division is between ingredients from the base game and those added in the official add-ons. There is no assumption that you have identified any effects, even the first one. None of them contain Mort FleshCC, the ingredient added by Plague of the Dead.

Buying Many Ingredients Efficiently[edit]

The simplest way to get any vendor to restock is to save the game, attack the merchant, and then reload. This will reset both the merchant's inventory as well as their gold available.

If you prefer a method that doesn't rely on a glitch, ingredient shops replenish their stocks every 48 hours. Markarth is exactly 25.5 hours away from Riften, so fast traveling from Markarth to Riften will make sure you get into town during the same time you left plus 1.5 hours, a day later. Thus, you can create a 51-hour round trip circuit between the two cities if you have large amounts of materials to buy or sell. This will cut down on your waiting for shops to be open if you arrive after business hours.

Skill Increases[edit]

Character Creation[edit]

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Alchemy:


Skill Books[edit]

Free Skill Boosts[edit]

Gaining Skill XP[edit]

Experience gains come primarily from brewing potions, but you also gain a miniscule amount of XP each time you discover an effect by eating an ingredient, including effects learned from having the Experimenter perk. Similarly, you will gain a small amount of XP if you try to make a potion and fail.


  • Alchemy experience gains are proportional to the gold cost of the potion being brewed. Details of the gold cost calculation are provided at Alchemy Effects.
  • Fortifying Alchemy apparel will increase the strength and thus the value of each potion. Obtaining four pieces—for the Hand, Head, Ring, and Amulet slots—will increase the effectiveness of alchemy training, whether by buying or enchanting your own. You can wear a Falmer helmet and a circlet at the same time making it 5× Fortify Alchemy enchantments possible.
  • The Alchemist, Physician, Benefactor and Poisoner perks all increase the value of potions, so get them as soon as they unlock while training.
  • The most expensive single effects (using standard ingredients) are Paralyze, Damage Magicka Regen, Invisibility, and Slow. Since the effect costs are additive, a potion with more effects will have a higher sell value than a potion with only one of these high-value effects.
  • At the start of your adventure in potion-making, it can be useful just to make what you can when you can. An easy way to start is to just buy every item except the most expensive (e.g., daedra hearts, frost salts, etc) from an alchemist, brew all the potions you can from the ingredients, and sell them back to the alchemist. This can be especially useful at Arcadia's Cauldron in Whiterun as you can then obtain alchemy training from Arcadia.
  • Fully clearing Frostflow Abyss during the Frostflow Abyss quest yields 96 Glowing Mushrooms, and at least 516 Chaurus Eggs with the expensive Invisibility effect, setting you up well for future brewing.


The following potions are calculated at a skill level of 15 with no perks and assumes no cost in obtaining the ingredients. It also excludes unique (single or low sample) ingredients, as they cannot be used over and over to train with.
  • (Base Game) Giant's toe is the single most valuable ingredient for training alchemy, as it has a 5.9 multiplier for any potion it is used to create that has a fortify health effect. The most expensive potions are:
With Giant's Toe: Blue Butterfly Wing + Blue Mountain Flower + Giant's Toe then Bear Claws + Giant's Toe + Hanging Moss
Without Giant's Toe: Glow Dust + Glowing Mushroom + Hanging Moss then Creep Cluster + Large Antlers + River Betty
  • HF The Hearthfire add-on adds player homes with gardens and one with a fishery, allowing you to farm your own ingredients (though not all ingredients can be grown). The add-on also adds the most potion-valuable ingredient to the game, namely salmon roe (which is almost twice as valuable as the highest base game potion using any ingredient).
With Salmon Roe: Garlic + Nordic Barnacle + Salmon Roe, then Chicken's Egg + Nightshade + Salmon Roe
  • Using Windstad Manor you can farm histcarp and salmon in the fish hatchery (you must kill the salmon as they will not yield roe if you just catch them), and grow jazbay grapes in the garden. It is not quite as valuable a potion as the ones above, but it is the highest one that has ingredients that can be farmed (yielding a maximum of 7.5k gold per run). However, this is only the best way if you don't build a greenhouse at any of your houses.
  • Growing ingredients in the garden and greenhouse to make potions is a far more reliable source of alchemy experience and income than anything else available.
Farming: Creep Cluster + Mora Tapinella + Scaly Pholiota
  • Overall, using the greenhouse and garden, creep cluster, mora tapinella, and scaly pholiota produce the highest experience/profits. With the greenhouse, thirteen plots should be assigned to mora tapinella and eight to each of the others. With just the garden, five plots should be assigned to mora tapinella, and three to each of the other two ingredients. This allows for 39 and 15 potions respectively, giving minimum profits of 15k and 5.8k gold respectively.
  • In the Special Edition there is a bug with creep cluster. (Actually there is a way around this bug that involves growing the creep cluster in the small single planters in the greenhouse. You can also grow them on the very ends of the large planters and gather them from there though targeting them is a bit harder. So you can still use this recipe.). Therefore dragon's tongue, fly amanita, and scaly pholiota become the most profitable combination (with the Benefactor perk, this potion is the most profitable regardless of the harvesting bug). With the greenhouse, scaly pholiota should be assigned eight plots and the other two given ten plots each. With just the garden, three plots should be assigned to scaly pholiota and four to each of the other two ingredients. This allows for 40 and 15 potions respectively, giving minimum profits of 13k and 4.9k gold respectively.
  • DB The Dragonborn add-on adds one more valuable ingredient, boar tusks. It can be used to make potions roughly 33% more valuable than using giant's toe, but still less valuable than salmon roe, or using your garden to train.


One achievement is related to Alchemy:


  • Additional effects add to a potion's value regardless of whether the effect is negative or positive.
  • Dwarven Oil and Taproot have exactly the same effects so you can make a high value potion with just these two items.
  • Guards will talk about your Alchemy skill if it is level 30 or higher: "Fancy yourself an alchemist, hmm? Never could get the hang of that." and "Hey, you mix potions, right? Can you brew me an ale?"
  • All crafted potions will look like a Potion of Minor Healing, and all crafted poisons will look like a Weak Stamina Poison. Both potions and poisons also share the same sound effect when used, which is the sound you hear when applying a poison to a weapon.
  • There are (according to preliminary calculations) 21974 distinct and efficient alchemy recipes possible in Skyrim only using the ingredients provided at the game's release on 11/11/11. "Distinct" means order of ingredient listing is ignored. "Efficient" means each ingredient contributes at least one effect the mixture would otherwise lack.
  • Note that the Purity perk will reduce your ability to earn money via Alchemy, since potions or poisons that mix positive and negative effects gain their value from all of their effects, and Purity removes the conflicting ones without any compensation.
  • There appear to be several unused Alchemy perks: Improved Remedy (00058219), Improved Virulity [sic] (0005821A), and Catalyst (0005821B). Improved Remedy and Improved Virulity remove negative effects from healing potions, and positive effects from poisons—suggesting they were later combined into the Purity perk—while Catalyst improves the magnitude of beneficial potions by 50%.
  • Green Thumb works on most plants, aside from Nirnroot and Crimson Nirnroot, which still yield only one sample when harvested. It also works with birds' nests (such as Rock Warbler nests), Nordic Barnacle Clusters, and Slaughterfish egg clumps, despite them not being plants. Green Thumb does not work with Dartwings (of both colors), all butterflies (including Luna and Ancestor Moths), Torchbugs and fish (including salmon). The perk also does not increase samples of ingredients in creatures that become searchable containers after death, such as hawks and sabre cats. Frostbite Spider eggs (in the large, clam-like pods) and cobwebbed Skeever corpses in the spiders' lairs are not affected by the perk, either, because they are searchable containers.


  • Fortify Archery potions affect all types of weapons.
  • Fortify One-handed potions won't affect daggers.
  • Vampire players receive an additional 25% increase to the strength of any potion (when consumed) or enchantment (when equipped), if they have the Necromage perk. Therefore vampire characters with Necromage are able to reach higher potion strengths. (The added strength of the enchantment or potion will show up on the "Active Effects" list when used.)
  • Hearthfire planters will not give double the ingredients with Green Thumb, despite the harvest notification indicating otherwise.
  • The "Purity" perk of Alchemy does not work as expected. For example, take ectoplasm + nightshade. Without this perk, the result will be a mixture of a poison and a potion: destruction spells fortified (potion) + health damage (poison). Obtaining the Purity perk and navigating to Alchemy submenu "Damage Health" to select Ectoplasm and Nightshade will now yield a destruction fortification potion instead of the expected poison for damaging health. This is also true if these two ingredients are selected through "Fortify Destruction" submenu or through the general ingredients list.
    • This also happens with ingredients that share all the same effects (like Blue Butterfly Wing and Chaurus Hunter Antennae, or Taproot and Dwarven Oil): what is always created is a potion with poison effects, or vice versa.
  • Flag Italy.png The Italian version of the game translated "ravage" and "damage" with the same identical word ("Danneggia"). You can figure out the differences from the in-game description when creating potions.

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