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Healing is the recovery of lost hit points and is vital to your survival in NetHack.

Healing yourself

You heal naturally over time at a rate which increases with your constitution and experience level. Wearing a ring of regeneration causes you to heal 1 HP per turn in addition to your natural healing, but also increases your nutrition loss by 50%. Being polymorphed into certain monsters (notably all V, L, T, and werecreatures) also gives you regeneration, as does wielding the Staff of Aesculapius, the Healer quest artifact; it also has another healing effect, detailed below.

There are many possible ways to heal yourself, listed here in rough order of most to least common. Some may have other effects besides just healing, and many can increase your maximum HP if you are close to it—see the specific articles for more details.

Healing Method Notes
potion of healing Restores 6d4 HP if uncursed, 8d4 if blessed, or 4d4 if cursed.
potion of extra healing Restores 6d8 HP if uncursed, 8d8 if blessed, or 4d8 if cursed.
potion of full healing Restores up to 400 HP regardless of BUC status.
healing spells The spells of healing and extra healing have the same effects as the uncursed potions, except that they cannot cure certain problems that the potions can, and spells will never increase your maximum HP. Cast at . to heal yourself.
prayer Having less than 6 HP, or less than or equal to 1/7 of your max HP, is considered a major problem. A successful prayer will return your HP to maximum.
invoking The Staff of Aesculapius This heals half the HP you would need to return to full health. The usual artifact invocation timeout applies, so doing this too often is unwise.
eating a nurse corpse or a tin of nurse meat Fully restores your HP (unlike the potion of full healing, there is no limit; you can restore several million HP this way if your maximum is high enough). Note that even a blessed tin will take 2 turns to open and eat, and also that eating nurse meat is considered cannibalism for human characters. Cannibalism is probably preferable to dying, but using nurse meat as a human in a non-emergency situation is definitely not a good idea.
eating a noncursed lump of royal jelly Restores d20 HP, among other effects. This is rarely enough to be very important, but it does come in handy if you get hungry on the Astral Plane, as you can heal yourself while eating.
levelling up When your experience level increases by any means, you gain hitpoints equal to your gain in maximum HP. This could potentially give you enough HP to survive another hit, if you saved that potion of gain level until the last minute.
being lifesaved If you die and are revived by an amulet of life saving, your hitpoints are restored to their maximum.
consorting with a foocubus May occasionally make you "feel restored to health", raising your HP to their maximum.
being hit by a nurse If you are wearing no armor and wielding no weapon, being hit by a nurse heals you. This is usually rather impractical in combat, but can be used to your advantage by nurse dancing.
sitting on a throne One possible effect (1/13 chance) is that you have your HP restored to their maximum, and increases the maximum slightly if close to or at it.[1] This is usually a bad idea if you are low on HP, as another possible effect is an electric shock that deals a fair amount of damage.
potion of unholy water For chaotics, restores 2d6 hitpoints.[2] Note that the same is not true of holy water (it has beneficial effects to non-chaotics, but doesn't restore any health), and that quaffing unholy water while lawful causes you to lose 2d6 hitpoints. (Neutrals get neither damage nor beneficial effects.)
zapping yourself with wands If you happen to be polyselfed into an iron golem, a wand of fire restores 12d6 HP; if polyselfed into a flesh golem, a wand of lightning restores 2d6 HP.[3] The usual item destruction will still occur.

Healing pets

Your pets regenerate slowly by themselves at a rate of one point per 20 turns, but if they have taken a lot of damage you'll probably want to help them heal up. Here are several ways to do that:

  • Cast a spell of healing or extra healing at them.
  • Wield a potion of healing, extra healing, full healing, restore ability, or gain ability, and hit your pet with it (you'll need to use the 'fight' command—push F and then the direction of the monster). This will increase its hitpoints to its maximum at the cost of tameness (it's not smart enough to know that you hit it to heal it). You can also throw the potion, which will not decrease tameness, but this has a chance of missing and wasting the potion, whereas the potion is still unharmed if you miss while striking in melee.
  • Some intelligent pets may be able to cast the monster spell 'cure self' on themselves, but you cannot influence this happening.
  • Intelligent pets will pick up and wear amulets of life saving if they are not already wearing an amulet, which have the same effect as they would on a player.

Caution: whacking a pet with potions counts as abuse in addition to the loss of tameness. If you commit abuse three times, your pet is guaranteed to become un-tame when life-saved, revived, or unstoned.


SLASH'EM adds several other ways to heal yourself and others:

See also

For recovery from conditions other than low HP, such as sickness or lycanthropy, see the specific pages on each condition.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

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