Laboratory Notes.


Utilization of Residue in making Tincture of Myrrh.—In preparing this tincture by the directions of the British Pharmacopoeia, a residue of about two-thirds of the original amount of myrrh remains. This consists almost entirely of gum or arabin, as the spirit of 84 per cent., used for percolation, exhausts the myrrh of resin and essential oil, leaving the gum, with the ordinary mechanical impurities, as sand, bits of wood, bark, &c. It occured to the writer that this might be utilized as mucilage; and to put the idea into execution, the residue of the percolation of 52 pounds—the quantity required for 50 wine gallons of the tincture—was dissolved in boiling water, strained, and allowed to deposit. Twelve gallons of very tolerable mucilage was obtained, and which, although unfit for sale, or the nicer purposes of trade, was found an excellent substitute for ordinary paste, possessing unlimited keeping qualities, but scarcely as adhesive as mucilage from gum arabic. The latter property may, however, be given by the addition of a small quantity of molasses; and thus prepared, the mucilage will be found quite acceptable, and, certainly, cheap enough.

While speaking of tincture of myrrh, it may not be out of place to allude to a plan for its preparation which was proposed by an American pharmaceutist, and which has, to some extent, come into use. It consists in forming an emulsion of the drug with hot water, and mixing this with alcohol. The resulting tincture is deep-colored and quite thick, conveying the vulgar idea of strength. Strong it is, but not in aroma, or fragrant resin. The practice cannot be discountenanced too strongly, as not only is the preparation quite different from what the Pharmacopoeia requires, but the product is a sticky abomination.

Adulteration of Lard.—Some time ago, the stock of prepared lard being exhausted, a quantity was procured from a respectable pork-dealer. It was beautifully white; so much so, that the writer was led to question his ability to produce anything equal to it. The first trial was in preparing ointment of nitrate of mercury. The color, when the mercurial solution was added, was the reverse of citrine, indeed, decidedly santurnine, developing in a short time to a full slate color. Surprised at this unprecedented result, the usual precautions having been taken as to temperature, etc., the lard was suspected, and, on examination, was found to contain a large proportion of lime. Some time after, being in conversation with a lard-renderer, a hint was dropped as to the relation of lime to color, when the information was confidentially imparted that a common practice among lard-dealers was to mix from two to five per cent. of milk of lime with the melted lard. A soponaceous compound is formed, which is not only pearly white, but will allow of the stirring in, during cooling, of 25 per cent. of water. So much for appearances.

Extract of Vanilla.—The pods are commonly recommended to be rubbed up with sugar. A plan we have adopted gives more satisfactory results. The pods are first cut into short lengths with a pair of shears, and are then ground, or pounded, with the addition of a liberal amount of clean, broken glass (old bottles). The powder may be made of almost any degree of fineness, and the ground glass assists materially in the percolation. Fifty pounds of vanilla may be completely exhausted by twenty gallons of spirit.—Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal, April, 1871.

The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. XLIII, 1871, was edited by William Procter, Jr. (Issues 1-4) and John M. Maisch (Issues 5-12).