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A Doctor’s Advice: ‘Can a Simmer Pot Improve My Focus?’

Yes, but there's an easier way to get the same effect.

Though the height of the pandemic is over, many of us are still living with its after-effects, including the work-from-home lifestyle. Working at home has plenty of perks — wake up later, commute less, eat lunch whenever you want, the list goes on. However, it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate at home where our personal lives bump into our professional lives. Is there a way to stay focused without having to make a trip down to the office? One of our readers heard about simmer pots (spice pots simmering on the stove) and how they helped solve a friend’s daydreaming problem. To learn more, listen to the answer from FIRST expert, Dr. Heather Moday.

Meet our expert.

Heather Moday, MD, is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram (@theimmunitymd), where she shares information on health topics. And to ask her a question here, send an email to

Can a simmer pot improve my focus?

Q: I work from home and have been having problems focusing recently. My friend says putting a pot of water and spices on her stove during the day helps her concentrate. Does it really work?

A: It can, but there’s an easier way to get the benefits. The “simmer pots” your friend recommends involve putting spices, herbs, and fruit into boiling water. This releases oils into the air, which prods the brain to create hormones that boost focus, reduce stress, and more, depending on the ingredients you use.

But making simmer pots is time-consuming, and you’ll only get the perks if you sit close to the pot. Instead, try inhaling the scent of essential oils, which deliver the same aromatherapy benefits. To improve focus and concentration, University of Cincinnati scientists suggest peppermint, which quickly boosts focus-enhancing brain waves to reduce inattention by 25 percent. And researchers at Chicago’s Rush University say cinnamon has the same impact, cutting problem-solving time by 60 percent.

FIRST Tip: You can also try an all-natural air-freshening spray that uses essential oils, such as Home Pourri. Home Pourri also acts as an odor eliminator, neutralizing smells like musty carpets and stinky trash cans before they reach your nose.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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