The Ultimate Guide to Smelling Salts

Smelling Salts have been used as a medicinal tool going back to the 13th Centruty when they were used to prevent or as a remedy to fainting. Since then however Smelling Salts have fallen out of favor in most medical circles. Smelling Salts are however often used in Sports to awaken a player who's been knocked unconcious, this is where most of you have probably seen smelling salts, they are commonly given to baseball players, hockey players and boxers and MMA fighters to bring them back awake after being knocked out. You may also be familiar with smelling salts from television shows or movies where you may have seen an ambulance driver or EMT or other first responders crack a smelling salt stick and put it under a persons nose to wake them up.

More recently Smelling Salts have seen a resurgence in popularity not only among athletes, powerlifters and bodybuilders, but they've become a popular staple among many podcasters and influencers. You may have seen people like Joe Rogan, Theo Von and Danny Jones of the Koncrete Podcast as all of these individuals regularly either use smelling salts or have guests use smelling salts on their podcast. While there's a variety of brands and manufacturers of smelling salts, the Jujimufu Ahhh!!! Smelling Salts have become incredibly popular, in large part due to Joe Rogan and Theo Vonn doing them regularly on the JRE Experience Joe Rogan Podcast.

We're calling this post, The Ultimate Guide to Smelling Salts and we'll be answering all your questions about smelling salts including what they are, how they work, are they safe to take, where to buy them, and much much more, so stay tuned to learn more about smelling salts, and if you're looking to pick some up to try them, checkout the links at the bottom of this post.

What Are Smelling Salts?

Smelling Salts are mmonia inhalanants which are chemical compounds which are used to increase alertness and arouse consciousness when a person has become unconscious, has been knocked out, or fainted. While traditionally the smelling salts you're probably familiar with from sports or television are ammonia sticks which someone cracks and puts under someone's nose, most of the smelling salts we see today from Supplement Brands including JujiMufus's Ahhh Smelling Salts come in a small tub. When a stick container is broken, a bottle is opened or a powdered smelling salt is activated with water, an ammonia gas is released and a pungent and strong odor of ammonia stimulates the sensory receptors in the nasal passage and triggers a reflexive inhallation response. This sudden intake of air can help to stiulate the respiratory system and typically results in restoring consicousness tos oemoen who has fainted or lost concsiousness due to various reasons such as being knocked out, low blood pressure, fainting, or other causes. Smelling Salts have historically been used in medicine by doctors and in other settings including sports and more recently even the gym. While smelling salts are generally pretty safe, they can irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory system, especially if inhaled too closely to the nose or mouth.

What Do Smelling Salts Smell Like?

Smelling Salts have a very strong or pungent odor which resembles ammonia. Smelling Salts smell sharp, acrid, and can be very intense. In the simplest terms smelling salts have a strong chemical smell. More recently as Smelling Salts have been growing in popularity a number of Sports Nutrition brands have begun manufaturing smelling salts which are scented with mint, menthol or fruit scents. While these smelling salts still have a strong ammonia smell, the added scents help to disguise or even dull the chemical smell while still delivering the desired effect.

Do Smelling Salts Help to Clear Your Sinuses?

Yes, smelling salts can have a temporary effect of clearing your sinuses due to the strong and pungent odor of the ammonia. Using smelling salts can stimulate the sensory eceptors in your nasal passage and trigger a reflexive inhale response and that sudden intake of air can help to clear the sinses by opening up your nasal passages. While this may provide some temporary relief they are not a long term solution for sinus congestion or related issues.

How Do Smelling Salts Work?

Smellin Salts work by using a pugent ammonia odor to trigger a reflexiveinhalation response in someone who has fainted or lost consciousness. Here's how it works. When a smelling salt stick is broken or bottle is opened there's a release of ammonia gas. This release of gas provides stimulation of the nasal receptors and this triggers a reflexive inhalation response which triggers an increased rate of breath bringing more oxygen to the lungs and this acts to either awaken somene or makes someone more alert

How Long Do Smelling Salts Last?

The duraion of the effects of smelling salts can vary, but they are typically very short lived. While smelling salts do make you more alert, they are not stimulants and the alertness or energy they provide don't last more than a few seconds typically. You may see powerlifters sniff smelling salts prior to attempting a personal record or personal best, but the effect of the smelling salts is short lived and typically fades away pretty much as soon as the lift is completed.

In terms of what smelling salts do for athletes or powerlifters, they can help to awaken someone who's lost consciousness or they can provide a brief window of added alertness to perform a specific task.

Are Smelling Salts Safe to Use?

Smelling Salts provide an very intense experience for the user, they have an incredibly strong chemical smell, they do a fantastic job of making you alert and they can even irritrate your nose and throat which leaves many users wondering if smelling salts are safe, with some users even wondering if smelling salts can kill you. There's also rumos and a myth out there that smelling salts can kill brain cells, this is untrue, there is no research nor any studies showing that smelling salts kill brain cells.

Smelling Salts can be incredibly safe to use if used in moderation and if used properly. The risks of smelling salts include irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system, however this typically only happens if you put them too close to your face. To use smelling salts properly and safely you should keep them 6-12 inches from your face. If you're initially not smelling them or not feeling the effect slowly move them closer to your face while inhaling gently. Yous should be able to find a distance at which the smelling salts are effective and noticeable without irritating your eyes, nose or throat.

Being as that we carry a variety of smelling salts and have been sent a lot of smelling salts by manufacturers for us to try, we've had the chance to try out a lot of smelling salts of varying strengths. With some smelling salts you can put them almost right up to your nose, while others like the Jujimufu Ahhh!!! Smelling Salts, even at waist level it can be overpowering. If you watch our Youtube Channel you may have seen our recent Livestream Prohormone Show where Jeff, Jordan and Edwin tried Ahhh!!! Smelling Salts and the entire room smelled of ammonia. The following day as a joke we put an open bottle under Jordan's desk and immediately upon him sitting down he instantly smelled it.

If used in moderation and kept a safe distance from ones eyes, nose and mouth smelling salts are safe to use.

Are Smelling Salts Considered a Drug?

This could be debated. The Websters definition of a drug is a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced to the body. When someone uses smelling salts it definitely triggers a physiological effect ie the shock the respiratory system and elevated level of breathing. That said smelling salts are typically not considered to be a drug n the traditional sense, its viewed more as a chemical compound.

While smelling salts are not a drug, they are often used in medical and sports settings as a first aid measure, but are not used for theraputic purposes as pharmaceutical drugs and they do not have a phamacological effect on the body beyond their stimulant effect on respiration.

Can You Make Your Own Smelling Salts

While it's probably much easier and possibly even cheaper to just buy smelling salts, you can make your own smelling salts at home. Making smelling salts requires just three ingredients, Ammonium Carbonate, Cotton Balls, and a Airtight Container.

To make smelling salts you'll want to put on gloves and protective glasses and work in a well ventilated area as ammonium cabonate can be irritating. Measure a small amount of ammonium carbonate ie 1-2 teaspoons and add to the container. Place a cotton ball inside the container with the ammonium carbonate. You will then seal the container tightly to prevent the ammonia vaor from escaping. You're homemade smelling salts are now ready to use.

Where Can I Buy Smelling Salts?

Ever since the recent rise in popularity of smelling salts, in large part due to Joe Rogan using them with guests on his podcast, many people on the internet have been asking where to buy smelling salts and wondering if they could purchase smelling salts on Amazon, at CVS, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe or other large retailers. Unfortunately smelling salts are not available on most of these platforms.

If you have a local brick and mortar supplement store that focuses on sports nutrition supplements like preworkouts, there's a good chance they may also carry smelling salts. If you're a member of a powerlifting gym there's also a chance they may carry them. If you want to purchase smelling salts online we carry a number of smelling salts from a variety of manufacturers including the popular Jujimufu Ahhh as seen on Joe Rogan. We also carry a number of other smelling salts from companies like Insane Labz and Ward Smelling Salts as well.

What's the Best Smelling Salt to Buy?

While pretty much every smelling salt on the market claims it's the strongest smelling salt on the market, the Jujimufu Ahhh!!! Smelling Salt, which self describes itself as "The World's Strongest Smelling Salt", is probably the strongest one we've tried to date, and we've tried well over a dozen different smelling salts from a variety of brands. Insane Labz Wake the Dead Smelling Salt is one of the weaker ones and we found Ward Smelling Slats to be pretty strong and actually give Ahhh a run for its money. While a lot of the smelling salts on the market have crazy and wacky names, don't be tricked by thinking just because a smelling salt has an intense name, it's going to be a strong smelling salt. One smelling salt we brought in called Skull F*ck by House of Gains had a pretty intense name, but was one of the weakest smelling salts we've tried. Before we wrap this up we'll briefly review for you number of smelling salts which we carry, and if you're intersted in purchasing one to try it out, just click the image of the smelling salt or the link below it to purchase.


JujiMufu Ahhh!!! Smellin Salts were made popular in by Joe Rogan who uses them and frequently has his podcast guests sniff Ahhh Smelling Salts during the show. We've tried over a dozen Smelling Salts and to date Ahhh!!! has been the strongest smelling salt we've tried. Upon opening the bottle the entire room smells of ammonia. If you're looking for a strong smelling salt this is it!


Ward is a Sports Nutrition brand who focuses exlusively on Smelling Salts. Ward's Bottled Insanity, another smelling salt by the brand has since be discontinued but was probably the strongest smelling salt we've tried right up there with Ahhh. Ward Hockey Smelling Salts are a close second to Bottled Insanity.


Ward's Asylum Refillable Smelling Salt is a very strong and powerful smelling salt. It comes in a re-usable metal bottle which helps to keep your smelling salts fresher for longer. You can also buy a cheaper refillable packet to refill your metal botle with as well. While many users love this product, personally I don't want to be having to clean and refill a bottle and prefer the single use throwaways like Ward Hockey featured above. If you like to be environmentally conscious or want your smelling salts to last longer however this is a great product.  


House of Gains is a supplement retailer who put out their own smelling salt. Upon initially seeing this product, the brand and packaging it sounded pretty hardcore so I insisted we bring it in. Despite the aggressive name this was one of the weakest smelling salts we've tried. If you're a beginner to smelling salts and want something a bit more tame this may be a good option but if you're wanting a very potent smelling salt this isn't the one.


Insane Labz is an OG Sports Nutrition brand known for their high stim, hardcore and hard hitting preworkouts. Recently they got into the smelling salt game with their Wake the Dead Smelling Salt. This one comes in at a slightly higher price point than some others on the market. It's reasonably strong but far from the strongest on the market. One nice thing about Insane Labz Wake the Dead is we tend to have it in stock more than other brands. Many of these smelling salt brands are smaller companies and have periods where they are out of stock, Insane Labz being a larger more established company is pretty good at keeping Wake the Dead in stock.

Aug 29th 2023 John Frigo
John Frigo
John has been helping people in the fitness and nutrition industry for over 10 years. He is an avid biker, hiker and fitness enthusiast. Most notably, you can find him on Youtube instructing viewers about the newest products to hit the supplement industry.
John Frigo

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