When we are suddenly frightened, or receive a severe emotional shock, the parasympathetic nervous system diverts a great deal of blood to the abdominal area, and this automatically lowers the blood pressure in the arteries which supply the brain. The decreased blood supply to the brain causes us to loose consciousness, but this is usually very temporary, as falling or lying down brings the head onto the same level as the brain.

Several essential oils are helpful to people feeling faint or in a state of shock, and the most important of these are Peppermint and Neroli. If neither of these oils is immediately available. Lavender and Rosemary are also useful.

Simply hold the opened bottle under the nose of a person who is feeling faint, or put a drop or two on a hankie or tissue for them to inhale; or you may massage a single drop of any of these oils into each temple.

These methods can be used to help somebody who feels falnt and may prevent loss of consciousness, but can equally well be used to help recovery from a faint.

By far the best first-aid, although it is not specifically aromatherapy, is Dr Bach's Rescue Remedy. This can be used in any emergency, and then follow up with essential oils if needed. Put four drops on the tongue, if the person is still conscious; if not, simply moisten the lips with a few drops. You can give another four drops after they have revived.

Never give alcoholic drinks to a person who feels faint, or who is recovering from fainting. A hot drink with some honey in it is far better, and peppermint tea is probably the best choice.

If someone faints very frequently, or for no apparent reason, it is important that the cause of fainting is investigated by a doctor, homoeopath or medical herbalist.

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