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What are Smelling Salts?

Updated: Aug 22



TL;DR – Smelling Salts provide an alert sensation to wake you up and feel Alive. They aren’t just for athletes; anyone can use them & feel the awakening effects!


By formal definition, Ammonia Inhalants (smelling salt), are a preparation of ammonium carbonate ((NH4)2CO3H2O). They are sniffed as a restorative or stimulant to wake up. Traditionally, they were used by fainting pregnant women back in the 1920's.


The more common concept of smelling salts: “A pungent substance sniffed as a restorative in cases of faintness or headache, typically consisting of ammonium carbonate mixed with perfume.”


Most smelling salts are typically a combination of diluted ammonia with other substances to provide an awakening sensation. Often times they are combined with aromatic substances like eucalyptus, peppermint, and other key ingredients. They may also be a mixture of ammonium carbonate and perfume. Both solutions offer a physical stimulant.


The stimulant effect of smelling salts is due to the ammonia gas, which alerts & arouses a person’s nasal and lung membranes when they sniff it. It's the same type of smell if someone smells something that is rather pungent or aggressively strong (think pure smelling salts or ammonium).


Once the smelling salt is smelled, sniffed or wafted, there are instant effects can be felt. The result is that the person involuntarily inhales and starts to breathe faster, which sends more oxygen to the brain (enter the alive or focused feeling). The old school smelling salts, which have been used for hundreds of years, would often smell bad since they are straight ammonium, which doesn’t smell pleasant, but this helps with the alertness and sense of clarity. Native Salts are a little different since ours smell good and keep you feeling clear.


Historically, doctors would use smelling salts to help revive people who have fainted. Today, everyone from common folks (we love common people) to athletes looking to improve performance will often use Smelling Salts for their stimulant effect.


Today, most smelling salts have been focused on providing Athletes with an alert sensation for the big play or next move; however, they are not limited to only athletes, and can be used by anyone. Smelling salts are great for swimming, biking, running and weightlifting. We love Salts for pre-yoga meditation, during hikes, or other outdoor activities.


Athletes frequently use smelling salts for quick energy or focus boost, but there’s no evidence that they enhance performance. This has been tested time and time again, that smelling’s salts don’t impact performance, but help with clarity & focus. Smelling salts are seen as generally safe, it’s important to use them only as directed.

If you’d like to try our Native Salts, Smelling Salts, feel free to check our buy now page to learn more or if you're in the Chicago land area reach out directly get the best Salts near you. Check out our other details on how smelling salts work and our Instagram for frequent Smelling Salt users.

Enjoy smelling salts, Cheers!

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