Now that the site has been renamed, what should we do with questions marked with the home-remedies tag?


Does anything need to be done about them? I went through a bunch of them and they range from bad questions that should have been closed the day they were asked to some pretty good ones with good answers. We could close the bad ones, but that wouldn't put much of a dent in the inventory of old, bad questions so I don't know if it's worth it.

Going forward, I expect most questions with that tag will end up closed as requests for advice, for lack of prior research, or for being ungrounded in sound science. (We need to revisit our close reasons and that last one needs to be added, IMO).


I want to throw out some thoughts that need to be considered when discussing this.

A number of those Qs have evidence-based answers already, such as "does X work for a cold?" and the studied non-pharmacological remedies are listed with solid evidence for efficacy (honey, zinc, etc). But in general MANY things that could be grouped in "home remedies" haven't been scientifically studied, including a plethora of off-the-wall speculation "do pickles cure cancer?" type questions, so there is not going to be a good evidence-based answer for some of these questions.

Ideally that should be the defining factor: is there a sufficient evidence base to answer it. But there are several difficulties to that requirement.

One is that most askers won't know the difference between a ridiculous claim from someone's blog and a truly evidence-based home remedy ahead of time. That's basically exactly why they're asking.

Two, part of the deficit is in OUR OWN knowledge - the "evidence" is not universally known by everyone for everything. Naturopaths have journals that review evidence that isn't in standard medical journals, and some of what I HAVE read stands up very well to scrutiny. Same with functional medicine, which is often still considered fringe by mainstream allopathy despite the varying degrees of evidence for their tenets. This could become a minefield depending on who participates here. There is always a lag between new research and adoption into clinical guidelines. That's part of why clinicians learn how to appraise literature themselves.

Three, we have a fairly small expert participant base at this time. For example, we have 200+ well-written-but-very-niche questions on tendonopathies but no orthopedist with specialized knowledge in that area. So they sit unanswered and pile up. So what is answerable and what is not isn't always clear.

I look forward to seeing other thoughts on how to approach this.

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