The divine version of this spell only worked on humans and demihumans, whereas the arcane version worked on any creature including undead creatures. When a creature fell unconscious but had not been killed outright, it was considered at "death's door" because the life (or unlife) was bleeding, oozing, or wafting out of its body. This spell healed the target—which had to be touched by the caster—enough to bring it to the threshold of consciousness. The healed creature would remain in this unconscious state for one hour per level of the caster, or until additional healing treatment was applied, bringing them to full consciousness. If no further healing was given, then the subject began to deteriorate toward death again after the spell expired.
Both versions of the spell required verbal and somatic components, including touching the gravely wounded creature. The divine version also required the use of the caster's holy symbol, a scrap of white linen, and a small amount of any type of unguent. The arcane version likewise required an unguent, plus a clear gem or crystal, a drop of water, a drop of blood, and a drop of milk or nectar.