Identification, and use homoeopathic pharmaceutical instruments and appliances and their cleaning.
Various types of apparatus, instruments, equipments and utensils are used for homoeopathic pharmaceutical purpose.
Mortar & Pestle
Mortar and pestle are used for different pulverizing purposes. Different kinds of mortar and pestles have specific utility in preparing or grinding different materials.
Iron or steel mortar and pestle:
Used for pulverizing very hard substances, e.g.: Seeds of Nux vom, Sabl serrulata, etc.
Iron and steel mortar and pestle should be keep perfectly free from rust, as rust decomposes many vegetable juices.
Porcelain mortar and pestle:
Used for triturating purpose of soft substances, e.g.: charcoal, fresh vegetable materials.
The porcelain mortars and pestles should be unglazed, if not should be made so by rubbing wet sand upon the surfaces.
Glass mortar and pestle:
Used for mercurial preparations.
Wedgwood mortar and pestle:
Used in trituration of crystalline solids or for reduction in particle size of different materials.
It consist of a weighted pestle mounted in ceramic, granite or metal mortar, which is run by a mortar. Power mortars are used for large scale productions.
Separate mortars for each drug is ideal, if not there must be at least three motors – one of porcelain for triturating of drugs having strong smell, and second one made of glass for mercurial preparations and third one for the rest of the remedies.
The mortar and pestle should be cleaned and dried well before triturating. It should be immediately washed after use with hot and cold water with the help of hard brush. Finally a few drops of alcohol is poured into the mortars and burned for through drying. After the mercurial preparations the mortar- and pestle should be washed with Nitric acid to neutralize the residue.
Spatula is made up stainless steel, horn, bones, solid hard rubber, ivory or porcelain.
- Spatula is used to loosen the powdered material packed on the inner side of the mortar during the process of trituration
- Used for ointment preparations.
- Measuring different powders.
- Hard rubber spatula and horn spatula is used to handle corrosive materials.
Sieves are vessels with meshed or perforated bottom for separating fine powders from coarser substances. Sieves are made up of silk, hair, or stainless steel wire.
The silk sieves are used for separating the fine powders from coarser substances, e.g. triturations, sugar of milk etc.
The hair or stainless steel wire sieve is used for separating the coarse powders.
The presses are made up of wood or iron.
Presses are used for squeezing juices from the medicinal plants, herbs, leaves, seeds, etc. and also used as ‘filter’ after the maceration and percolation process of manufacturing tinctures.
After each use, the parts of the press should be taken apart, and cleaned thoroughly with cold and hot water, next with purified water, and dried they well.
Chopping board is used for cutting the crude drug into small pieces before making them into powder or making it into a pulp form.
The chopping board must be made of well-seasoned wood, free from knots or pores. Marble or glazing porcelain slabs also can be used as chopping board.
Chopping knife or chopper should be made of stainless steel, and should be kept well polished.
Chopping knife is used for cutting plants, herbs, etc.
The chopping knife must be free from rust, because rust decomposes many vegetable juices.
Percolator is a cylindrical vessel provided with an orifice called neck at the bottom. The percolator is supported on an appropriate stand. Percolator is made up of glass, stainless steel or copper.
Used for extracting the soluble constituents of a drug by the passage of solvent through the powdered drug contained in the percolator.
Specific Gravity Bottle
Specific gravity bottle is a flat-bottomed bulb-like bottle with a long, tapering neck. A well-ground solid glass stopper with a narrow bore fits the neck. If the bulb is filled with a liquid and the stopper is inserted in place, some liquid comes out through the bore and the bottle remains a fixed volume of the liquid.
It is a flat-bottomed glass container with a long narrow neck fitted with a stopper.
Used for the preparation of reagent and storing standard solutions.
These are long, cylindrical calibrated glass containers.
Used for measuring the volume of a liquid.
It is a conical shaped apparatus with a lower narrow, pipe like mouth. It is made up of glass, high quality polythene or porcelain.
Used for transfer of liquids, and for supporting filter media.
It is a long glass tube of uniform bore and graduated in cubic centimeters. The upper end of the tube is open and the lower end is drawn to a jet and is fitted with a glass stopcock.
Used to transferring a measured volume of a liquid.
Pipettes are two types. Volumetric and Graduated.
Pipette is used to measure a liquid with a high degree of accuracy.
It is a circular glass vessel. It is used for storage of liquids.
It is a thin glass tube used in various purpose in the laboratory.
Wire gauze Tripod stand
Any substance for heating is placed over the wire gauze. The wire gauze is kept on the three legged stand – tripod stand and the substance heated from below by Bunsen burner
An instrument used for taking up and holding.
It is a glass-made instrument used for rapid and easy measurement of the ‘Relative density’ or ‘Specific gravity’ of liquids.
It consists of three parts – a long narrow graduated stems, a tubular bulb, and a round bulb.
The round bulb filled up with lead shot or mercury to keep the instrument upright, when the instrument is immersed in a liquid, whose relative density is to be measured. The upper stem is graduated and these markings give the readings of the relative density of the liquids.
Crucible is made up of Porcelain or silica. Porcelain crucible is used for drying hard substances in small quantities at a high temperature. Silica crucible is used for drying substances in very high temperature.
It is a hemispherical shaped dish or pan. It is made up of porcelain, glass, silica, copper or stainless steel.
It is used for evaporation of liquids in high temperature.
It is a flask-like round bottomed apparatus. One of its sides is bent with a long and tapering, and bent at an acute angle.
Used as a distilling flask.
Water bath is used to calculate the moisture content of drug substance, for indirect heating at low temperature, and for sublimation (direct change from solid to vapor state without passing through liquid stage).
Water bath is a round or pan-shaped vessel usually made up of copper. For easily handling, it is fitted with two handles on the either side. The cover of the vessel is made up of different concentric reducible flat, ring-like lids are arranged one above another. All the lids are perforated except which is placed above.
The desiccator is used for removing the moisture completely from materials; for keeping ‘hygroscopic’ materials (i.e. which absorb moisture from the atmosphere).
Desiccator is an airtight thick-walled hard glass vessel provided with a lid fitting perfectly on the upper ground rim of the desiccator, which is greased. The desiccator is tapered at the middle and a movable perforated zinc-sheet placed on a shelf above the tapered portion, which separates the desiccator upper from the lower half. The air inside the desicator is kept always dry by placing some drying agents (e.g. concentrated sulphuric acid, fused calcium chloride, etc.). The substances to be dried are kept on a porcelain basin in the upper half.
For quick drying, a vacuum desiccator is used; the vacuum is done through an adjustable opening at the top of the desiccator being connected with a vacuum pump.
The hot-air oven is used for evaporating the moisture of vegetable drugs or other raw material and in determination of solid contents of mother tinctures.
It is a small almirah-like chamber, made of aluminum or stainless steel, also made of copper. Two or more perforated and movable racks are provided within the chamber. A moving hinged door is provided to open and close the oven as required. A thermometer is inserted through a hole at the top for recording the temperature of the air inside the oven. The substance to be dried is kept on the shelves of the oven. The oven is heated electrically or by gas burner at the bottom.
Balances is an instrument is used for determine the weight of different substance. There are three types of balances
- Physical balance: (weighing platform balance / beam balance) – In this balance three verities of scales are used for ordinary weighing.
- Scale with brass pan for serving prescription,
- Scale with glass-pan-for hygroscopic and caustic substances.
- Scale with horn-pan-for poisonous substance and sugar of milk. Physical balance is used in weighing large quantities, which do not need finer sensitivity.
- Chemical Balance: It is used for minute quantities where fine degree of sensitivity is needed.
- Single pan balance: In this balance there is only one pan where the substance to be weighed is kept and adjusted by turning the knobs and its weight will be directly read on the scale. It is used where putting in and putting out of weights is not required.
Microscope is an instrument, which magnifies the object, which is not visible to the naked eye. A microscope consists of following components:
4 Support system
4 Magnification system,
4 Illumination system,
4 Adjustment system.
Support system –
The foot – The horse-shoe shaped metallic base.
The limb – In the lower part of the limb consist of the stage and the sub stage attachments. In the upper part consist of the body and the body tube.
The body contains the focusing mechanism that consists of two components
¨ A pair of large milled heads working on the principle of ‘rack and pinion mechanism operates the course focusing by moving the body tube up and down.
¨ A pair of smaller milled heads working in the same manner operates the fine focusing.
The magnification system
Consist of eyepiece and objectives. The eyepiece is the portion through the object is viewed. The objectives are the group of lenses at the bottom of the tube, just above the object. There are three types of objectives- low power X10 (the objective magnifies 10 times), high power X40 (the objective magnifies 40 times) and oil immersion X100 (the objective magnifies 100 times).
The platform or stage – Is the part was the slide is place.
Consist of the following parts
¨ Condenser – Used to adjust the intensity of light. There is a diaphragm, which can be opened or closed, by which the entry of light is controlled.
¨ Mirror – Used for directing light towards the condenser. It is concave on one side and plane on the other side. It can be rotated. Adjust can be done rotating downward and up-word movement of the condenser. At the same time adjust can be done by moving the slide on the plat form.
¨ Diaphragm – situated with in the condenser. It is used for to reduce or increase the angle and therefore, also the amount of light that passes into the condenser.
Adjustments in the microscope:
¨ Coarse adjustment screw – used to adjust the approximate focus by making up-word and down-word movement of the cylinder.
¨ Fine adjustment screw – Used to get the clear image of the object. Here the movement of the cylinder is less
¨ Condenser adjustment screw – used to rise for maximum illumination and lowered for minimum illumination.
¨ Condenser centering screw – used to center the condenser exactly in relation to the objective.
¨ Iris diaphragm lever – Used for opening or closing the diaphragm.
¨ Mechanical stage controls – used to move the object slide on the stage.
Focusing the object
Low power adjustments (X5 or X10)
– Use the concave mirror
– Diaphragm should be partly opened
– Condenser must be lowered.
High power adjustment (X40)
– Use plane mirror
– Diaphragm should be opened one third
– Condenser must be raised
Oil immersion adjustment (X100)
– Plane mirror must be used
– Diaphragm must be fully opened
– Condenser must be raised
Cleansing of Utensils:
All glass material including mortar should be first washed with cold water followed by its immersion in a solution of potassium dichromate for an hour. Rinse it in cold water followed by hot boiling water. Dry it completely and process through alcohol allowing it to evaporate by itself.
After mercurial preparations, the mortar and pestle should be washed with nitric acid to neutralize the residue.
Spatula should be washed by running tap water then washed with alcohol.
Corks are usually washed only through alcohol. Wooden handled pestle is carefully cleaned taking care to spoil the wooden handle.
To remove greasy or oily materials methylated spirit, ether, chloroform or Benzene can be used. Vessels made up of metals should never e washed with acids.