The coca leaf in the Inca empire

The coca leaf, the corn and the potato were the basic foods of the Incas. Considered as a mystical plant its use goes back from 500AC. The coca leaf was considered as a mystical plant.

However, when the Inca Empire expanded northwards, the consumption of this product was restricted, since the Inca State controlled the most valuable products in the Empire. Likewise, the Inca State prohibited the consumption and use of this plant to the town under penalty of law. It had a sacred character and was used as an offering in different public feasts as rites and sacrifices.

The characters who consumed the coca leaf were the Inca, his relatives and some curacas. In spite of that, the coca leaf was stored and then used in times of war or food.

Those responsible for tilling up the coca fields belonging to the Inca were criminals because there was a large percentage of moisture and heat in those areas, so they did pick the leaves of this plant to criminals as a part of punishment.

Helping the Inca to forecast the future by observing the leaf after chewing and spitting on his hands. The coca leaf was used as barter to exchange objects with other towns

Finally, as we have seen the use of coca leaf in the Andean world was highly valued and even considered sacred. The coca leaf was made exclusively for the elites of the empire and only offered to some special servers. The use of coca leaf as a belief in the protection of the soul when a person was in agony became common and was part of Inca customs habitually.