In the world of Skyrim, alchemy provides players with the ability to fortify themselves — as well as weaken others. Some of the game's most useful poisons are ones that inflict the Paralysis effect, temporarily rendering foes unable to move.

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For players who want to coat their weapon in this devastating brew, look no further. With plants, fungi, and slightly more…macabre ingredients, Skyrim's Dragonborn can create a poison to incapacitate even the brawniest of bandits and most fearsome of Dragon Priests. Furthermore, skilled alchemists can add other effects to their poison as well, giving themselves an even bigger advantage.


Updated October 10, 2021 by Demaris Oxman: A decade after the game's initial release, Skyrim demonstrates its staying power with a still-active player base. Even so, players are always trying to change up the game and keep it interesting after so long. One way to do that is by exploring different play styles — and alchemy offers interesting boosts to several. The Paralysis effect in particular allows players to employ some interesting — and vicious — strategies in battle. To that end, this guide has been updated with additional information on where to find and how to combine ingredients with the Paralysis effect.

The Paralysis Effect

Mass Paralysis spell in Skyrim

When hit with a weapon coated in Paralysis poison, an enemy will be completely immobilized, falling to the ground. This gives the player a window to heal, summon magical constructs, or simply wail on their foe. The amount of time the paralysis lasts will depend on the player's Alchemy level, so be sure to grind the skill or purchase training to maximize these poisons' usefulness.

Players can also paralyze foes through magic or via weapon enchantments. However, these methods require an extremely high Alteration skill or decently high Enchanting, respectively. Alchemy is thus usually the easier option for rendering foes immobile.

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Additionally, poisons bearing the Paralysis effect are among the most valuable alchemical products in the game. Crafting them will level the Alchemy skill quickly, and players can sell them off to get rich quick.

Ingredients & Locations

Canis root (left); Imp Stool (right)

Thankfully, paralysis-inducing ingredients aren't too hard to track down in Skyrim. Just mix any two on the list below, and the Dragonborn will have an excellent poison on their hands. Most ingredients can be purchased from alchemy merchants, but the Dragonborn can also collect them with their own hands in the locations detailed below.

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  • Briar Heart: Players can loot these from the bodies of Forsworn Briarhearts. Be warned, though, that facing these foes is not a challenge for the faint of heart. Briarhearts are skilled mages who use deadly frost spells, so take appropriate precautions before fighting them. They dwell in several Forsworn strongholds, including the following locations:
    • Red Eagle Redoubt
    • Deepwood Redoubt
    • Dead Crone Rock
    • Karthspire
  • Canis Root: Look for this ingredient in rocky areas in the Rift and Hjaalmarch. It can sometimes blend into the landscape, so search carefully for what looks like a small, withered tree. The following locations hold several specimens:
    • The Nordic ruin Folgunthur north of Morthal
    • Around the Apprentice Stone, northwest of Morthal
    • Riften Stables
  • Gleamblossom: Available with the Dawnguard DLC, these curious flowers grow only in Darkfall Cave and the Forgotten Vale. The Dragonborn will access these areas as part of the main Dawnguard questline.
  • Human Flesh: Though players cannot loot this item from human corpses, they may find it where vampires or unsavory mages dwell, or places where the Black Sacrament has been performed. The most reliable sources, though, are as follows:
    • Falmer often drop this item when killed. Players can typically encounter these twisted creatures in Dwemer ruins.
    • With the Dawnguard DLC installed, players can often find several samples of Human Flesh (as well as several Human Hearts) in the dining room at Castle Volkihar. These will respawn every few in-game days.
  • Imp Stool: These round, squat mushrooms tend to grow in dark, damp areas. Look for them in caves, especially the following:
    • Chillwind Depths, south of Dragon Bridge
    • Tovald's Cave, northwest of Shor's Stone
    • White River Watch, east of Whiterun
  • Netch Jelly: Exclusive to the Dragonborn DLC, players can farm this item by slaying Netches on Solstheim and looting it from their carcasses. Be warned that, like Briarhearts, these creatures don't go down easily. Bring potions and enchanted gear to protect the Dragonborn from shock spells, as Netches defend themselves with electrifying power.
  • Swamp Fungal Pod: As the name suggests, this ingredient grows in damp, marshy areas. It's common in the swamps surrounding Morthal, especially between the town and Movarth's Lair.

Combining Effects

Alchemy lab in Skyrim

Not only is paralysis a great effect on its own, but it also lends itself fantastically well to combining with other deadly effects. Imp Stool in particular is an ingredient with lots of potential, as it contains the effects Damage Health and Lingering Damage Health along with Paralysis. The following recipes utilize effects that work in deadly harmony with Paralysis.

  • Mixing Imp Stool and Human Flesh creates a poison that both paralyzes and damages enemy HP. Adding Slaughterfish Scales to this mixture also adds a damage-over-time effect with Lingering Damage Health. Players can find the latter ingredient cheaply in most alchemy shops, or from killed Slaughterfish.
  • A mixture of Imp Stool, Canis Root, and Nirnroot will damage both health and stamina, in addition to paralyzing the target. Nirnroot can be found near water, identifiable by its distinctive chime and glow.
  • Combining Imp Stool and Swamp Fungal Pod will both paralyze a target and restore their health. This may seem counterintuitive; however, it can be helpful for leveling combat skills. By prolonging the battle and leaving the enemy unable to fight back, the Dragonborn has time to get in more hits and increase their One-Handed, Two-Handed, Destruction, or Archery skills.
  • For players looking to make money and/or level up their Alchemy skill quickly, the combination of Netch Jelly, Gleamblossom, and a Giant's Toe is worth a lot of Septims. This brew carries three different effects: Paralysis, Fear, and Fortify Carry Weight. All of these boost value immensely (even if it's not the most effective for practical use). Giant's Toes can be found on killed giants, or in alchemy shops if players don't want to get thrown sky-high.

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