Throughout history, a wide variety of materials have been used in making incense. Historically there has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example, Sandalwood is used by the indigenous peoples of India. This was a preference and ancient trading in incense materials from one area to another comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called the Incense Route.
The same could be said for the techniques used to make incense. Local knowledge and tools were extremely influential on the style, but methods were also influenced by migrations of foreigners, among them clergy and physicians who were both familiar with incense arts.