This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
This is caused by a decreased action, and sometimes total cessation of the action of the heart. It is sometimes preceded by a feeling of anxiety, giddiness, dimness of sight and coldness of the extremities. Attacks of fainting are frequently attended with, or end in vomiting, and sometimes in convulsions, or in an epileptic fit.
The causes of this state are, violent and long-continued exertions, long continuance in an erect position, sitting in over-heated rooms, sudden and violent surprises, pungent and other kinds of odours, (I knew a lady who always fainted at the smell of sweet peas), derangement of the digestive organs, debility from preceding disorders,and excessive evacuations, blood-letting, haemorrhage from some part of the body, organic disease of the heart, etc. Some people seem to have a natural predisposition to fainting, and faint upon the slightest occasion.
During the paroxysm, the nostrils are to be stimulated with volatile spirit, or smelling salts, and the face sprinkled with cold water. The patient should be placed lying down, on a bed, or a sofa, or even on the floor, with the head low; and with plenty of fresh air about her. Where fainting is caused by a great loss of blood, it may be necessary to have recourse to powerful stimulants, such as brandy, Ether and Ammonia, persevering in their use till the safety of the patient is secured. If the disease arises from debility, the system must be strengthened by nourishing food, gentle exercise, pure air, and tonic medicines; especially the Iron Mixture, and Citrate of Iron and Quinine.