HOV: Valley Doctor Supports Use of Non-Traditional Cures, New Treatments

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WESLACO – Herbal or non-traditional cures to diabetes have been around the Rio Grande Valley for generations.

A local doctor says while new and effective drugs are available to treat it, some of his patients are reluctant to solely rely on them.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS talked to Dr. Antonio Falcon, of Rio Grande City, about how he balances his medical training with home remedies handed down for generations.

“I always wanted to be a physician since I was a little boy,” he tells us. “I never thought about doing anything else. I’m glad I got admitted to medical school cause’ I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten admitted.”

Dr. Falcon says returning home after graduation fulfilled a dream of his to serve his community.

He says diabetes is a common diagnosis among his patients.

“Forty years ago, one or two medications were used in the treatment of diabetes. Insulin was difficult to get a hold of,” he explains.

He says home remedies are what many people relied on. For him, it’s part of the Valley culture.

“People depended on different kinds of hierbas for other illnesses,” he says.

Dr. Falcon says he heard about them growing up and he still sees them being used today.

“One of the latest treatments they use, a little tree called Moringa, [is] for the treatment of their blood sugar,” he says.

He says before blood sugar monitoring became widely available, people relied on one thing to gauge if they were OK.

“A lot of it was a sense of well-being. If you felt better, you continued to use what seemed to be working for you,” he says.

While how a person felt is a good measure in the medical worlds, he says there are still many questions.

“The fear is always is that with a lot of the non-traditional medications, herbal medications, sometimes there are no studies to see what kind of effect it will have on the patient,” he says.

Still, Dr. Falcon says he’s willing to work with his patient.

“So, it’s a little bit difficult. But again, if a patient feels strongly that they want to use something, I never turn them down. It’s not my way or the high way. I’ll work with you,” he says.

He says it’s a blend of non-traditional cures and new treatments.

“With diabetes, it has to be a relationship for the patients and doctor interchanges ideas and comes out with the best treatment possible,” he says. “It’s very important to closely monitor as they’re trying something different. They should never leave traditional treatment while they’re experimenting with something else.”

Dr. Falcon says he seeks to find what works best in his patients.

He also shared his thoughts on reducing the incidence of diabetes in the Valley. He says it has to start at an early age.

Dr. Falcon explained how communities need to get involved, especially the school and our elected officials, to implement program in kindergarten, pre-kinder and elementary schools. 

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