It is difficult to overstate the importance of the coca leaf in Andean culture. It has been sacred to the Aymara, Quechua and Guarani people for over 5,000 years and passed down through their ancestors. To offer someone coca leaves is to demonstrate fraternity and equality, the cornerstones of the social system. It is used in rituals because it has spiritual significance to these people. In many places it is used for bartering, which is important for the peasants who otherwise would sell their products for a low price, but buy other essentials at a high price.