Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is increasingly being recognized as an important signalling molecule in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The production of H2S from L-cysteine is catalysed primarily by two enzymes, cystathionine gamma-lyase and cystathionine beta-synthase. Evidence is accumulating to demonstrate that inhibitors of H2S production or therapeutic H2S donor compounds exert significant effects in various animal models of inflammation, reperfusion injury and circulatory shock. H2S can also induce a reversible state of hypothermia and suspended-animation-like state in rodents. This article overviews the physiology and biochemistry of H2S, summarizes the effects of H2S inhibitors or H2S donors in animal models of disease and outlines the potential options for the therapeutic exploitation of H2S.