Potions are drinkable items which imbue the user with certain spell effects. Standard potion effects are very similar to the purchased version of the spell of the same name. Since most spell effects are based on level, you'll get greater benefit from potions at higher levels. You can find potions as treasure, occasionally you can buy them in the higher quality stores or you can make them yourself if you have access to a potion maker.

Potion makers are available to all temple members (except Julianos and Kynareth) and members of the Dark Brotherhood once a certain rank in the guild is achieved. For the Dark Brotherhood it's rank 3.  For the temples, it varies between ranks 4 and 6.

To create a potion, the player must access the potion-maker. Once you get access, just click on "Create Potions" to open the screen. All items in inventory under “Ingredients” will be displayed on the left hand side of the screen. Please note that items on your wagon will not appear. Select the ingredients you want to mix by clicking on them and then click the “Mix” button. If you can't remember what ingredients go into a potion, clicking on "Recipes" will bring up a list of all recipes you have found. Clicking the recipe will move the ingredients into the mixer or tell you that you don't have all of the ingredients you need.

What follows is a list of known potions and their recipes. There are effects which are not listed here. Since there are many ingredients which can be combined in several different ways, the player can experiment with different ingredients and see what comes out (save the game before making the potion to conserve ingredients and before drinking the potion to conserve your character). I have appended the complete text of “Special Flora of Tamriel” as food for thought for the adventurous gamer.

Recipes in BLACK are recipes which I have verified by finding and trying the recipe in the game. Recipes marked in YELLOW with a question mark (?) are alternative recipes given by other players, but which I have not tested.  The change in ingredients may result in a stronger or weaker potion with the same effects as the original.  Both "Restore Power" recipes are correct, but your game version determines which one is the right one for you. If your browser is Java-enabled, passing your mouse over the name of the potion will show its Effect, Duration, Magnitute, and/or Chance of success on the status bar.

The "Ingredients" link will take you to a table which more or less duplicates information in Bethesda's official hint book with a few of my comments for added spice (pun intended).

In my (not-so) humble opinion, Bethesda goofed (big time) with the potion maker. Because you can mix ingredients in any combination you want, you can come up with some very non-standard potions with some very standard effects. However, you cannot NAME a potion. All non-standard potions are named "Potion of Unknown Powers" or somesuch.  This is one of the things that makes the potion maker a major headache (and a major reason why I don't like it). Unless you want to remember each potion's position within your inventory (and it reverses each time you reload a game), you must either stick with one potion or take your chances on grabbing the right potion.