A Pharmaceutical laboratory should be equipped with various kinds of utensils up-to-date instruments appliances.
Mortar and Pestles
(i) For pulverising hard substances such as, Kuchila seeds, well-polished mortar and pestles of Iron rather of steel are required.
(ii) For soft substances — such as charcoal, fresh vegetable materials; mortars, and pestles made of porcelain with unglazed surfaces or make unglazed by the rubbing wet sand upon their surfaces are employed.
(iii) For mercurial preparation glass mortar and pestles are required.
The handle of pestle may be made of wedge wood or some other woods.
N. B. — Kuchila seeds are used to prepare Nux Vomica.
Glass stoppered bottles made of fine white glass should be used. Mother tincture, acids, and other chemicals may be stored in them. For storing acids strong glass bottles such as Hyoid glass, Pyrex, Jena, or other kinds anti-corrosive glass are preferable. Bottles are made of Gutta Purcha are requisitioned for keeping Fluoric acid. Yellow or Ambar coloured bottles were once freely used and were considered to be superior to white coloured bottles in order to protect against chemical rays of the light but later experience shows that non-medicinal substances exposed to yellow light for sometime, acquires medicinal virtue.
For ordinary purposes, ordinary bottles of glass with velvet corks are to be used. Corks should be well polished (smooth) and free from any pores.
It should be made of horn, bone, porcelain, and ivory, They are generally used in connection with the preparation of trituration, ointment, weighing the powder, etc.
These are also made of ivory, horn, bone. They are used for handling sugar of milk and some other purposes.
Sieves are made of silk, hair, and wire. The later two are used for ordinary purposes (Coarser substances for powders) those of silk are used for powders or in connection with tincture or triturations. Sieves intended for sugar of milk should not be used for other purposes.
Properly graduated measuring glasses, minim glass and cylinders should be secured for measuring liquid vehicles required in connection with preparing drugs and potencies, but no medicinal substances should be measured with these.
These are used for expressing juices from the medicinal plants, herbs, etc. The press also works as a filter after maceration and percolation.
Made of glass or porcelain should also be used metallic funnel should be avoided.
It is required to cut the fresh medicinal plants, herbs, leaves, roots, barks, and flowers into small pieces. This board is made up of wood, free from any pores.
A chopping knife or chopper made of fine steel is employed for cutting them.
It is for determining the weights of the substances. The accurate and scientific balance should be used.
Physical balance, chemical balance & single pan balance are used.
Physical Balance: It is used in weighing larger quantities where strict accuracy is not needed.
(a) Brass pan scales: For serving prescriptions. (b) Glass scales: For corroding and moist substance or those substances which quickly absorb moisture from air.
(c) Horn pan scales: For poisons, sugar of milk, etc.
Chemical Balance: Is used for minute quantities where fine degree of sensitivity is needed.
Single pan balance: It is of recent origin. There is only one pan on which the substance is kept and adjusted by turning the knobs and its weight will be directly read on the scale.
It is an airtight thick-walled glass vessel provided with a lid that fits accurately and perfectly airtight on the upper ground rim of the desiccator, which is greased. The desiccator is contracted at the middle — a circular perforated zinc-sheet placed on a shelf above the constriction separates the upper from the lower half. The air inside the desiccator is kept dry by putting such drying agents as fused Calcium chloride or concentrated Sulphuric acid at the bottom. The substances to be dried is kept on a clay pipe traingle in the upper half. A vacuum desiccator is used for quick drying. A desiccator not only dries a substance but also prevents it from coming in contact with the atmospheric moisture. Hence hygroscopic substances are kept inside the desiccator after they have been dried by it. It is used for desiccation i.e. removing moisture from substances.
Hot Air Oven or Steam Oven
It is used for drying and heating upto 100°C. It is a double-walled copper vessel with a hinged door and a movable perforated shelf inside. The hollow space between the two walls is partially filled with water through an opening on the top. The water is kept boiling by heating the oven with a gas burner from below when the upper portion of the hollow space is filled with steam. The substance is dried by putting on the shelf inside the oven where there is a temp nearly 100°C.
It is used for evaporation to avoid any loss by spirting. It is generally made of copper, round vessel fitted with two handles on either side of the vessel. So that it can easily be handled. Its cover consists of ring like lids, made generally of copper. Porcelain covers are also been used. These are flat, concentric, and reducible. The vessels should be partially filled with water and placed on a tripoid stand and heated using a burner from below.
Other instruments for a well equipped Pharmacy Laboratory are:
(i) Thermometer — To measure Heat. (rise of temperature)
(ii) Hydrometer — To measure specific gravity of the liquid.
(iii) Microscope — Used for examination of various minute substances (microbes) that are not visible with eyes.
(iv) Tripoid Stand
(v) Bunsen Burner
(viii) Glass Retort
(ix) Test Tube
(x) Still (the apparatus used for distillation of water in large scale)
(xiv) Filter Stand etc.
Source: Dr.N.K. Banerjee and Dr.N. Sinha