The coca leaf in the Inca Empire | Portal of Light Perú

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.

Until today, the coca leaf is still used by the people of Cusco as an offering to the earth, in the reading of the coca leaf and also in the Ayahuasca ceremony and the San Pedro ceremony.

Coca leaf reading in valle sagrado de los incas


Private ceremonies are booked 48 to 24 hours in advance and international ceremonies are booked 30 to 60 days in advance. After services are rendered, the guest can receive an itemized invoice or a proof of purchase in the form of a receipt. If the guest cancels 24 hours before services are rendered, s/he will have to pay 50% of the total value of the contracted services. If services are cancelled on the same day of the ceremony, s/he will have to pay the entire cost.

Contact Us

Atoqsaykuchi 790, San Blas - Cusco (frente a la canchita de futbol San Marcos)

(+51 ) 913 009103

(+51) 980 572163
× WhatsApp