Digital signatures make use of Asymmetric Cryptographic techniques to sign messages. From a (very) high level, the algorithms use pairs of complimentary keys with the special property that data encrypted with one key can only be decrypted with the other. One, the private key, is closely guarded and used to 'sign' the message while the other, public key, is shared around to anyone interested in verifying the signed messages. Messages are signed by using the private key to encrypting a digest of the message. This encrypted digest is transmitted along with the message. On the other side the verifier recalculates the message digest and uses the public key to decrypt the the digest in the signature. If both digests match the verifier knows only the holder of the private key could have created the signature.
Camel uses the Signature service from the Java Cryptographic Extension to do all the heavy cryptographic lifting required to create exchange signatures. The following are some excellent resources for explaining the mechanics of Cryptography, Message digests and Digital Signatures and how to leverage them with the JCE.
Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography
Beginning Cryptography with Java by David Hook
The ever insightful Wikipedia Digital_signatures