The complement system not only represents an effective innate immune mechanism of host defense to eradicate microbial pathogens, but it is also widely involved in many forms of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases including sepsis, acute lung injury, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and asthma, to give just a few examples. The complement-activated product, C5a, displays powerful biological activities that lead to inflammatory sequelae. C5a is a strong chemoattractant and is involved in the recruitment of inflammatory cells such as neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and T lymphocytes, in activation of phagocytic cells and release of granule-based enzymes and generation of oxidants, all of which may contribute to innate immune functions or tissue damage. Accumulating data suggest that C5a provides a vital bridge between innate and adaptive immune functions, extending the roles of C5a in inflammation. Herein, we review human and animal data describing the cellular and molecular mechanisms of C5a in the development of inflammatory disorders, sepsis, acute lung injury, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and asthma.