'Smelling salts' and 'ammonia inhalants' are two different common names for the same product. The name "smelling salt" came from the fact the primary ingredient is 'Ammonium Carbonate', which is a salt, and from the fact that to get the effect you have to smell it.
Historically we find mentions of smelling salts as early as the 13th century, used by alchemists. This means smelling salts have been around for over 800 years! Back then smelling salts were used to revive people who have fainted because a powerful release of adrenaline shoots you awake and restores consciousness. For many years this was the primary use for smelling salts, until athletes got a hold of them....
You've heard those crazy stories about radical feats of strength, such as a mother lifting a car off her pinned toddler. How is this possible? Due to the incredible effect that adrenaline has on human performance. Adrenaline is released in fight or flight responses, and athletes use it to fight, to set new records, to out perform their bests, and take their training to a whole new level. The ammonia gas causes irritation in your nasal passage which triggers the fight or flight response and subsequent adrenaline release. The extra adrenaline that smelling salts / ammonia inhalants provide allow us to unlock a physical performance we are capable of, but unable to tap into without it.
This has made smelling salts an absolute no-brainer for any athlete who needs to perform in short bursts. Adrenaline has a half-life of 2 minutes. This means it's not ideal for a long distance runner, but extremely effective for powerlifting, strongman, crossfit, football, hockey, boxing, combat sports and many many more sports. Smelling salts have become so popular that you'll see them at the professional and amateur level of almost every sport. They're even prolific in arm wrestling and pole dancing.
Smelling salts should be used when you really need to perform. You wouldn't use them during warm ups for example. Game day, personal record attempts, super charging training, and max-outs are the perfect applications.
The effects on athletic performance are so drastic that naturally came the next question, how do we take the average medical grade smelling salts and make them stronger? Most medical smelling salts are ampules / capsules. Although effective for their use, it leaves athletes wanting. Queue the invention of bottled smelling salts. Bottled salts offer many advantages over ampules. They're less expensive, reusable for months, more convenient, and most importantly MUCH stronger. Unlike ampules they work by creating a chemical reaction that produces huge amounts of gaseous ammonium carbonate, which means more ammonia and more adrenaline. However not all bottles are created equally. There's large differences in potency between one manufacture to another. And lets just say we're pretty proud of what we've created here at Ward Smelling Salts... We call it "bottled insanity" for a reason...
So if they make such a big difference, why aren't you using them yet?