It’s not a superstitious belief; it’s an actual substance that most players use before matches to give themselves the refreshment they need. Even though the substance is allowed for most athletes, it’s illegal in boxing. Even Muhammed Ali believed in the power of smelling salts. Not only “The Greatest,” but many other athletes were caught on camera using smelling salts before their big games to give themselves the boost they need; big names such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Alex Ovechkin, and Derrick Rose. So what’s in this magic substance that makes many people realize its importance? That’s what we are going to discuss today along with the big question of whether smelling salts are safe or not. 


What Are They? 

Smelling salts (or ammonia capsules) are just a combination of ammonium carbonate and perfume. As the name suggests, they are salts that you can smell or inhale. Back in the 13th century, the British Red Cross recommended for these salts to be stored in first-aid boxes during the Second World War. The way that these types of salts arouse the senses is by the concentrated ammonia stench. They help in feeling all hyped up by restoring lucidity and clearing haziness. They increase consciousness and alertness by triggering a certain inhalation reflex, which improves the way you breathe. 


Are They Safe? 

Smelling salts certainly have their disadvantages when they are used incorrectly. Athletes use higher concentration solutions and capsules before their big games. These should be held at least from 10 to 15 centimeters away from the nose. If one didn’t follow this rule, they might end up burning their nasal cavity. Sometimes, overusing these stimulants can lead to headaches, head injuries, and spinal injuries due to the cause of violent head jerks. However, fatal side effects have not been proved yet when it comes. They were only banned from being used in boxing as some players overused them to power through some injuries and fight unconsciousness to continue with their games. 


Are They Effective? 

They are proved by many athletes that, yes, they are very effective in increasing alertness and helping in avoiding faintness. The irritation that the ammonia causes the membranes in the nose and lungs can even slightly increase strength and energy. All this comes from the upsurge in the heart rate due to the rise in your breathing rate. More oxygen means more pumped blood in your veins and heart. 


Should You Go For It? 

It’s better to ask your coach or personal trainer after consulting your doctor before you decide on using smelling salts. Overall, it’s a seemingly non-threatening substance. However, you need to pay attention to when and how much you are using it. Even though smelling salts can help in clearing out the fog, one shouldn’t use it to snap out of the dizziness to continue playing. Be careful to not overuse the substance so you won’t lead your body’s natural defenses to be overridden. People should be careful when using salts inhalation to wake up an unconscious player after a serious hit. These players might have a head injury that would only get worse if they woke up. So to sum up, smelling salts is safe depending on how you use them.