A ritual drink of importance among Hindus. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, which contains many hymns praising its energizing or intoxicating qualities.
Soma (Sanskrit: sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent greater Indian and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it.
It is described as being prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Hindu and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.
There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. There is no consensus on the question, although some Western experts outside the Vedic and Avestan religious traditions now seem to favour a species of Ephedra, perhaps Ephedra sinica.