The Juniper is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere although its birthplace is obscure. They can be found in Europe, North America, North Africa, Middle East and northern Asia; it is a very slow growing tree (bush) and can live many hundreds of years.
A papyrus from ancient Egypt was discovered which showed Juniper berries as an ingredient for a medicine.
The number of juniper species is in dispute, being somewhere between 52 and 67 species.
Many of the earliest prehistoric people lived in or near juniper forests which gave them food, fuel, and wood for shelter.
Berries have a bitter-sweet taste and aroma which goes particularly well with strong meats and game, it also compliments chicken and certain fish such as Salmon; many Elizabethan food recipes mentioned the berries and I suspect that had a two fold reason, hide the taste of suspect meat and help with digestion.